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Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler is among a dozen Democrats being targeted in a series of radio ads from the conservative-aligned Crossroads GPS organization. The ads criticize the representatives for voting against a Republican-backed bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, largely through major spending cuts. The spots also praise Republicans for supporting the legislation.

The Washington Post has more on what the ads say about the next year for Chandler.

The ads, which provide an early window into both parties’ most vulnerable members heading into 2012, are the second major buy Crossroads has laid down this year.

The early spending suggests that Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads plan on continuing their active presence in House and Senate elections — not to mention the presidential race — in 2012.

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American Crossroads is helping fund a series of ads against Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway. Because the sources of the group’s funds may remain hidden, it’s not always clear who is supporting the ads.

ABC News, however, reports on one Kentuckian who is financially fighting Conway through contributions to Republican Rand Paul and through work with Crossroads.

The businessman’s name is Terry Forcht. And like many super-wealthy conservative donors who are quietly stoking the GOP’s mid-term election surge around the nation, the extent of his investment in the 2010 campaign is both vast and, for now at least, largely unknown.

In addition to donating personally to Republican Rand Paul’s upstart campaign, Forcht is the banker handling funds for American Crossroads. The conservative group was founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove and has, through its non-profit arm, American Crossroads GPS, channeled millions into this year’s campaigns without identifying its donors.

 

We’ve seen Crossroads GPS’s ads attacking Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway. While other outlets have reported about Crossroads and other groups that have poured cash into campaigns since Citizens United ruling, we haven’t heard much about how the groups operate.

NPR has a chart that shows how close some of the various outside groups are.

Left-leaning PAC MoveOn held a press conference in Louisville Tuesday to discuss front-group spending in support of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul. MoveOn has run ads criticizing Paul, while the conservative Crossroads GPS has run ads criticizing Paul’s opponent, Jack Conway.

Here is MoveOn’s statement:

So far, $1,467,763 has been spent by corporate and right-wing special interests to help elect Rand Paul. Over $647,000 has come from Karl Rove’s front-group alone! Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited secret corporate spending in politics, shadowy front groups funded by Big Oil, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and others, have been spending tens of millions of dollars in support of Republican candidates. By using front-groups, corporations can hide their electoral spending.

Just last week, two of the biggest-spending corporate front groups, the Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS, came under fire. It was reported that some of the $75 million the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending this election cycle came from foreign corporations, while the IRS was asked to investigate the legality of the spending of Karl Rove’s group, Crossroads GPS, which already spent $18 million this election cycle.

“Kentucky voters have a right to know who is spending all this money in support of Rand Paul, and why,” said Kelley Rouda, a local MoveOn member.  “Over a million dollars have been spent on ads in Kentucky from shadowy front groups set up to hide giant contributions from foreign corporations, Big Oil, financial institutions and other corporate interests. The effects on our democracy are devastating. It’s impossible for ordinary voters here to make informed choices or have our voices heard, and if corporate CEOs and lobbyists are shelling out big money to support Rand Paul, he is going to owe them. Who’s going to represent ordinary families in Kentucky then?

 

MoveOn.org has a new video that hits Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul on his endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The NRSC and Crossroads GPS have both released ads criticizing Democratic candidate Jack Conway.

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