‘Shadow GOP’ hiding in plain sight

Holly Bailey adds detail today to the picture coming into focus about a “shadow GOP”, which she says is centered on the 12th floor of a nondescript New York Avenue office complex in Washington DC. She calls it “ground zero.”

It’s here that four new groups – American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS, American Action Network and the American Action Forum — have set up shop under the tutelage of former Bush strategist Karl Rove and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie.

They’re all separate groups, but they share the same basic goal of helping engineer Republican victories in November and beyond:

All of the organizations were founded separately and organized as individual groups. But each is working closely in concert — they share the same office space within the New York Ave. building, and according to Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for American Crossroads, his group rents its offices from American Action Network.

They identify each other as “sister” groups, even though officials involved in the effort are cagey about exactly how closely they are coordinating their efforts and message.

“We work together as much as the law allows, though obviously you can glean information from what’s in the public domain,” Collegio told The Upshot. The groups, however, are strictly prohibited from coordinating directly with individual candidates or political parties.

As was the case with the Democrats’ 2006 initiatives, much of the money going into the GOP effort is secret. While a few of the groups are registered as so-called 527 organizations under federal tax code, most are registered as 501-c4 nonprofit groups. That designation means they don’t have to disclose either their donors or where they’re spending all of that money. Unlike contributions to political candidates and parties, individual donations to such groups aren’t capped or regulated. And that makes them very attractive to big-money donors trying to affect the outcome of an election.

For a complete breakdown of each of the groups and their specific role in the network, see here.

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