April 26, 2011- Despite their prior criticism, Democratic strategists are following Republicans into the forum of undisclosed political donations, engaging in an arms race of-sorts to drum up more outside-party cash than their opponents in 2012.
The change in strategy comes at the amusement of conservatives, who out-gunned Democrats in political donations during the 2010 mid-term elections. Democrats hit Republicans hard before the last election, casting their fundraising efforts — and those of their corporate allies — as an attempt to undermine American democracy with secret, possibly even foreign money.
But next year, that line will likely bite them back.
That's because Democratic strategists have set about creating their own super political action committees and non-profit groups that can absorb unlimited donations from undisclosed benefactors. Two groups — Majority PAC, which will help elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate and American Bridge 21st Century, which will deliver opposition research to other Democratic organizations — are set to lead that charge on behalf of liberals in 2012.
On the other side is former Bush political adviser Karl Rove, whose groups — American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — worked in tandem with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to advertise against Democrats in the last round of elections.
Together, American Crossroads and the Chamber out-spent Democrats in nearly every race they focused on, with a combined grand total approaching $70 million spent to influence American voters.
The massive influx of money into U.S. elections was thanks to a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (FEC), which overturned nearly a century of campaign finance law that limited corporate donations and required the identity of donors be disclosed.