Crossroads GPS

The Crossroads organizations were put together by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, former advisers to President George W. Bush. Crossroads Grassroots Policy Solutions (commonly called Crossroads GPS) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. In 2010, Rove and Gillespie brought the Crossroads groups together with other GOP outside spending organizations, including groups backed by the Koch brothers, to achieve an unprecedented level of coordination.[1][2] The groups rely heavily on a handful of big donors. For instance, in 2014, Crossroads GPS “received 55 percent of its funding from just four donors that gave at least $5 million each… One of those anonymous donors shelled out $20 million.”[3]

In the 2012 elections, Crossroads GPS spent $71 million.[4] In 2014, the group’s fundraising and spending declined, reportedly due to a lack of success in 2012 that left “donors grumbling that their money had been wasted.”[5] In May 2015, the New York Times claimed in a headline that “Rove’s Crossroads… is no longer [the] G.O.P.’s big dog” and wrote that “the Koch political network has leapfrogged the Crossroads organizations in size and reach.”[6] According to FEC records, Crossroads GPS spent $26 million.[7] However, Crossroads GPS’ subsequent tax filings showed that it spent $66 million during 2014.[8]

In April 2015, Bloomberg reported that the IRS may be denying nonprofit status to Crossroads GPS due to its substantial political activity.[9] The Center for Responsive Politics reported that “payments to media firms that specialize in the production of political ads made up 65 percent of Crossroads GPS’ spending in 2014,” which would cross the IRS’ permitted political spending threshold of 49 percent for such nonprofits.[10] Such a denial would allow the past three years of Crossroads GPS’ income to be retroactively taxed.[11] However, in February 2016, the IRS granted retroactive nonprofit status to Crossroads GPS, immunizing it from these taxes.[12]

The Crossroads groups are closely associated with the Senate Leadership Fund, the Congressional Leadership Fund, One Nation, and the American Action Network.

[1]GOP groups coordinated spending.” Jeanne Cummings, Politico, 11/3/10

[2]Karl Rove’s fight club.” Kenneth Vogel, Politico, 3/27/12

[3]Pro-Tillis dark money group funded entirely by Crossroads GPS.” Robert Maguire, The Center for Responsive Politics, 11/17/15

[4]Crossroads GPS – Outside Spending Summary 2012.” The Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 9/25/15

[5]Fund-Raising by G.O.P. Rebels Outpaces Party Establishment.” Nicholas Confessore, The New York Times, 2/1/14

[6]Rove’s Crossroads PAC is No Longer G.O.P.’s Big Dog.” Eric Lichtblau and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times, 5/21/15

[7]Crossroads GPS – Outside Spending Summary 2014.” The Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 9/25/15

[8]Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies – IRS Form 990.” International Revenue Service, 11/15/2015

[9]IRS May Be Trying to Stop Tax Exemption of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.” Richard Rubin, Bloomberg, 4/30/15

[10]Pro-Tillis dark money group funded entirely by Crossroads GPS.” Robert Maguire, The Center for Responsive Politics, 11/17/15

[11]IRS May Be Trying to Stop Tax Exemption of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.” Richard Rubin, Bloomberg, 4/30/15

[12]IRS gives non-profit status to Rove’s controversial dark money group.” Robert Maguire, The Center for Responsive Politics, 02/09/16