As if independent expenditures by super PACs weren't enough, two major political players have notified the Federal Elections Commission of recent electioneering communications in states likely to be battlegrounds this fall.
Crossroads GPS reported spending $500,000 on ads against President Obama in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri, while Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc., spent $36,000 on ads in Florida and Michigan. Electioneering communication are TV or radio ads that refer to a candidate for office within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election but stop short of calling for a vote for or against the candidate. The FEC must be notified of the ads and the amount spent on them but because Crossroads GPS and Planned Parenthood Action Fund are tax-exempt nonprofits, they do not have to disclose donors.
Crossroads GPS’s most recent ad “Entry Level” accuses Obama of focusing on failed projects such as solar panel maker Solyndra, while forgetting about those who have been laid off by those companies.
Planned Parenthood's 30-second spot applauds the president for protecting access to affordable birth control.
In the 2010 elections Crossroads–the group linked to GOP strategist Karl Rove spent more than $15 million in independent expenditures against Democrats and more than $1 million in electioneering communications — according to OpenSecrets. Sunlight's research indicates that Planned Parenthood Action Fund is a relatively new player in the field of electioneering communications, making their inaugural contributions, some $47,000, first during last year's special House election in New York on behalf of the winning candidate, Democrat Kathy Hochul.
(Anupama Narayanswamy contributed to this story)