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Conservative And Tea Party Leaders Confront Rove Over His Failures

Conservative and Tea Party leaders are sending a letter to high dollar (six and seven figure) donors to American Crossroads outlining the failures of Karl Rove’s much-vaunted 2012 election effort and making the case that their donations – in some instances running to the millions of dollars – were wasted.

Brent BozellThe letter lays out how Crossroads has been a failed investment to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and how Crossroads has chosen to blame the Tea Party for its failures instead of owning them and retooling for victory.

Among the key facts the letter provides to these high-dollar donors is a study by The Sunlight Foundation that found Crossroads’ success rate in the 2012 cycle to be 1.29%.  The signers closed the letter by telling the donors, “As conservative leaders who represent millions of grassroots conservatives, we strongly urge you to consider this information as you are making your decisions about political giving in the future.”

You can read the letter in its entirety at

Text of the letter:

Dear [Major Donor to American Crossroads]

You have likely heard over the last several weeks about a new effort called the Conservative Victory Project that will be supported by Karl Rove and the Crossroads organizations. Their stated purpose is to identify conservative candidates in Republican primaries capable of winning elections. As leaders in the conservative movement who have been active in conservative and Republican politics for decades, we are writing to set the record straight.

The 2012 election cycle saw our first billion-dollar campaign. Recently, the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation did an analysis of the money spent. They measured the effectiveness of political spending by the amount of money spent on a successful effort—either electing a chosen candidate or defeating a chosen candidate. They found that the success rate of the Crossroads effort was 1.29%.

Now, in an attempt to explain the astonishingly low return on the hundreds of millions of dollars investment in Crossroads, Karl Rove and others are attempting to blame conservatives and the tea party. But a simple analysis shows this to be simply untrue. In 2012, the only Senate Republican winners were Jeff Flake, Deb Fischer, and Ted Cruz—all of whom enjoyed significant tea party and conservative support. Meanwhile, more moderate candidates like Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, Rick Berg, and Denny Rehberg went down to defeat despite significant support from Crossroads.

It was firmly expected that Republicans would capture the Senate in 2012. It is inexcusable that they failed and, in fact, lost two seats. The facts speak for themselves. It was not conservatives.

Not one moderate Republican challenger won. According to the Sunlight Foundation, not one Senate challenger supported by Crossroads won.

There was another, equally important reason Republicans fared so poorly: Groups like Crossroads squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in what were arguably the most inept campaign advertising efforts ever.

Mr. Rove and his allies must stop blaming conservatives for his disastrous results. It is time for him to take ownership of his record. He must also stop posturing himself as a conservative: his record supporting wasteful government spending and moderate candidates over conservatives spans decades.

No matter how he positions himself in this attempt at damage control, Mr. Rove's efforts will not elect the type of leaders who will come to Washington to fight for conservative principles. In fact, they are likely to stifle the emergence of candidates like Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul. Further, the model that will be employed by the Conservative Victory Project has proven to be ineffective and a waste of political resources.

As conservative leaders who represent millions of grassroots conservatives, we strongly urge you to consider this information as you are making your decisions about political giving in the future.

Signers to date:

L. Brent Bozell
Chairman, ForAmerica

Jenny Beth Martin
Co-Founder, Tea Party Patriots

Richard Viguerie
Chairman, Conservative HQ

David Bossie
President, Citizens United

Amy Kremer
Chairman, Tea Party Express

Hon. Ken Blackwell
President, Constitutional Congress Inc.

William Walton
Rappahannock Ventures

Diana Banister
Director, Citizens for the Republic

Kay R. Daly
President, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

Elaine Donnelly
President of the Center for Military Readiness

Brian Brown
President, National Organization for Marriage

Curt Levey
President, Committee for Justice

Phil Burress
Chairman, Citizens for Community Values Action

Alfred S. Regnery

Susan A. Carleson
President, The American Civil Rights Union

Craig Shirley
Reagan Biographer

Ralph Benko Contributor

Frank Gaffney
President, Center for Security Policy *

Tony Perkins
President of the Family Research Council

(* for identification purposes only)

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Supporters of this letter

Why not allow all tea parties to sign up for supporting this letter instead of just the Tea Party patriots and Tea Party Express,

Individual tea parties across the nation comprise several million memebers/supporters, (some recent estimates up to 40 milloin) why not give us a voice in this?

John Nelson
The Highlands Tea party
Sebring, FL