Hard times have arrived for the Republican Party and particularly for right-wing pressure groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, Heritage Action and the one-time lavishly funded tea party PAC, FreedomWorks. According to a report in Politico, heavyweight Republican donors are frustrated and “horrified” that their money is going to wrong-headed politicians and groups that appear to have no effect on election outcomes.
“In conversation after conversation, donors express growing frustration with the party and the constellation of outside groups they’ve been bankrolling,” wrote Politico‘s Maggie Haberman and Anna Palmer.
Donors, they say, were “horrified in November after pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for president and Congress with nothing to show for it,” and in the wake of the Republican shutdown fiasco, they have become even more concerned.
FreedomWorks PAC’s CEO Matt Kibbe took to CSPAN on Friday to declare that schisms between the old and new guards of the Republican Party are making it “a real possibility” that the party will split in two. Kibbe didn’t mention, however, that his group is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy thanks to a top-heavy management structure and tendency to hemorrhage cash on things like craft beers and Las Vegas hotel rooms.
Similarly, Karl Rove’s super PAC Crossroads GPS is, Politico said, among those “feeling the hardest pinch” from donors shutting their checkbooks. Crossroads spent $300 million in 2012 and saw nearly every single one of its candidates lose that November. Since then, donations have slowed considerably as the right’s financial backers have begun to lose faith in party gurus and politican strategists.
One-time backers of tea party Republican candidates, said Politico, are facing a kind of “Frankenstein syndrome” in which politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and the House’s tea party caucus no longer fear the donors who put them into office and no longer believe that they need them.
Al Hoffman, a mega-donor and former U.S. ambassador to Portugal, told Politico that the money-holders on the right are wary now of financing politicos that are such ideologues that they end up hurting the very interests they were sent to Washington to protect.
“So many in the House are hard-right reactionary tea party,” he said, “And those Republicans, it appears, are ready to self-immolate, and are willing to risk the destruction of the party by risking the destruction of the economy, by risking a default.”
“I am desperate to get the Republicans moving again…in my view we’re becoming a party of irrelevancy,” he said.