April 29, 2011- Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) on Friday tore into Democrats for launching a new outside group to aid President Barack Obama's re-election efforts in part by raising undisclosed funds.
"Democrats who mirror the right-wing tactics of Karl Rove and David Koch do our nation no favors," said Feingold, a longtime opponent of industry-funded elections who now helms Progressives United, according to Politico's Ben Smith. "Our democracy is best served by rejecting the fundamentally corrupt strategy of embracing unlimited corporate influence."
The group, Priorities USA, is poised to receive the kinds of unlimited, undisclosed donations that Obama has spoken out against. It's similar in some respects to Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which spent millions in anonymous money trying to defeat Democratic candidates last year.
"It has everything to do with Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers," former Obama White House spokesman Bill Burton told The Associated Press. "As long as they play by one set of rules, we're not going to be boxed in by a double standard."
The creation of the group suggests that the White House and Democrats have — at least for now — thrown in the towel on campaign finance reform and chosen to fight fire with fire. They'd be trounced in election spending by Republicans if they didn't adopt similar fundraising tactics.
Raising unlimited campaign funds from anonymous donors was made possible last year by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United v. FEC ruling.