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American Crossroads raises millions for GOP candidates

Major donations come from Texas, Federal Election Commission reports show.

October 20, 2010|By Kim Geiger | Tribune Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — American Crossroads, a conservative group founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove and other party leaders, has raised more than $24 million since it was started this year, including $8 million in the first 13 days of October.

Reports filed Wednesday night with the Federal Election Commission shed some light on the group's funding sources.

Major donations flowed by way of Texas, the reports show. Bob J. Perry, a Houston home builder known for financing the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, contributed $7 million. Robert B. Rowling and his Irving, Texas, firm TRT Holdings, which owns Omni Hotels and Gold's Gym, contributed nearly $5 million.

Also disclosed was a $50,000 contribution from Donald Trump.

Unlike its sister organization, Crossroads GPS, American Crossroads is organized in a way that requires disclosure of its donors. Disclosure forms previously filed with the election commission show that other major donors include American Financial Group, a Cincinnati holding company, which contributed $4 million; Bradley Wayne Hughes, founder and chairman of Public Storage, who contributed $1.3 million; and the living trust of Jerry Perenchio, former owner of Univision, which gave $1 million.

Though GOP-allied groups appeared flush with cash -- American Action Network, a group run by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, spent nearly $7 million airing ads in 18 districts last week, according to FEC records -- the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a plea to supporters.

Guy Harrison, executive director of the GOP committee, said in an e-mail to donors that there were "more seats in play than resources to go around."

This cycle, the NRCC had committed $45 million to buying air time and had aired ads in 53 districts.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee planned to file reports showing $17 million raised in September. The DNC raised $11.1 million in the first 13 days of October, and a total of $179 million this election cycle, a Democratic Party official said.

Democrats have made urgent appeals to supporters for additional contributions to counter spending by third-party groups like American Crossroads.

kim.geiger@latimes.com

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