The Obama campaign’s top lawyer fired off a letter to Karl Rove Thursday, demanding a retraction of a “mystifying” comment Rove made and raising questions about his upcoming appearance at a Mitt Romney campaign event.
The letter is the second that Bob Bauer has sent to Rove this week. The first arguedthat Rove could no longer insist that his advocacy group, Crossroads GPS, was policy oriented — a distinction that allowed it to shield the names of its donors. The follow-up letter, obtained by The Huffington Post, makes that same point, arguing that there is no “social welfare” component to the group’s operations.
But it also challenges Rove in more direct terms. Bauer hints that Rove, the chief strategist to former President George W. Bush, is colluding with Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, by homing in on Rove’s presence at a Romney retreat in Utah this upcoming weekend. He also expands the scope of his complaint to Rove’s role with American Crossroads, the super PAC arm of Crossroads GPS.
Bauer’s letters allowed him to make his point without actually putting many legal or political resources behind the effort. As Rove argued during the Fox News interview, there are also progressive 501(c)4 institutions that, like Crossroads GPS, toe the line between policy work and campaigning, and Bauer hasn’t asked for the names of their contributors.
But none of those groups do it with as much gusto or money as Crossroads GPS does. A top Obama campaign official on Wednesday floated the idea of going to the courts in order to push for donor transparency, suggesting that the campaign is getting more and more serious about the matter and may soon move beyond sending letters.