The nonprofit arm of an organization founded by GOP operative Karl Rove is spending handily — to the tune of more than a half-million dollars — for attack ads that began Tuesday against U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, who quickly responded with a message of his own.
Enyart faces Republican state Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, in the Nov. 4 election.
Crossroads GPS, which is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (4), plans to spend $565,000 to fund attack ads against Enyart, according to the D.C.-based insider publication, Politico. Bost’s office is not coordinating with Crossroads, and to do so is prohibited by federal law.
“We have no control over third-party commercials or ads done, so we have no control over what people can and cannot do,” said Jim Forbes, campaign spokesman for Bost.
Enyart said in an email message to supporters on Tuesday that a “big thank you goes out to everyone who chipped in last week to help us respond.”
“The news that Karl Rove’s group had cut a big check to start a new round of attacks wasn’t good, but our response was great,” Enyart said in the message, announcing a new ad of his own, to air beginning Wednesday.
The attack ad funded by Crossroads claims Enyart’s votes have added to the national debt, among other criticisms.
The organization is the nonprofit arm of American Crossroads, of which Rove is a founder. Because of its nonprofit status, Crossroads GPS does not have to disclose the identity of its donors.
Eynart is one of five Democratic congressmen being targeted by the organization’s hefty checkbook. Crossroads GPS plans to spend a combined $3.1 million on TV commercial airtime in California, Illinois and West Virginia, Politico reports.
Contacted by The Southern Illinoisan, Crossroads GPS Communications Director Paul Lindsay said the “issue ad gives citizens the opportunity to urge Congressman Enyart to stop wasting taxpayer money and support the Balanced Budget Accountability Act.”
“Washington’s out-of-control spending is an issue that concerns many in Illinois,” Lindsay said via email.
Enyart campaign advisor Jason Bresler retorted that "Karl Rover and the special interests are rallying to Springfield Insider Mike Bost because they know that he’ll support the Republican Budget that would raise Medicare costs by thousands of dollars on Illinois seniors in order to cut taxes for the ultra wealthy."
“Rep. Enyart will always oppose any budget that would raise Medicare costs while cutting taxes for the super wealthy," Bresler said.