By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
A “super PAC” backed by Republican strategist Karl Rove, and largely financed by a handful of mega-wealthy out-of-state businessmen, has reported spending nearly a quarter of a million dollars to support Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio.
Federal records filed Tuesday night show the money – $247,000 – was paid to an Austin-based direct marketing firm, Olsen & Shuvalov, whose website says that it specializes in helping Republican political campaigns and conservative causes.
So-called super PACS, legally known as “independent expenditure-only committees,” are a new breed of a 527 political organization that can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations and individuals to support or oppose candidates.
Rubio is locked in a heated three-way race with Miami Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meek and independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist. Election day is Nov. 2.
The non-profit Center for Responsive Politics reported earlier this month that American Crossroads raised more than $9.3 million between January and August. Among its other expenditures was $678,000 to oppose Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
Four billionaires, all on Forbes list of the world’s richest people, account for much of that money:
*Trevor Rees-Jones, president and chief executive of Dallas-based Chief Oil and Gas, $2 million.
*Robert Rowling, CEO of TRT Holdings in Irving, Texas, $2 million.
*Jerry Perenchio, Los Angeles-based former owner of Univision broadcasting, $1 million.
*Cincinnati-based American Financial Group, owned by 90-year-old Carl Linder, $400,000.
Another major contributor to American Crossroads – Orlando based defense contractor Daniels Manufacturing – is also a direct supporter of Rubio. The company received nearly $34 million in federal contracts in the last decade, according to data compiled by GovernmentContractsWon.com
Company owner George S. Daniels and company CEO James Vargo personally contributed over $7,000 to Rubio’s Senate campaign.
Rove, who owns a $900,000 home in Rosemary Beach in Florida’s Panhandle, is former chief strategist for President George Bush. Earlier this year, he teamed with former Bush White House attorney and Republican National Convention chairman Ed Gillespie to create American Crossroads.
American Crossroads is a tax-exempt 527 political organization, a name derived from the section of the U.S. tax code. It is registered with the Federal Election Commission an as independent organization whose purpose includes running advertisements for or against candidates.