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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Republican State Leadership Committee


Political leanings: Republican/Conservative

Spending target: $40 million


This group, founded in 2002, focuses on electing conservative Republicans to state offices, from lieutenant governor to state legislators. In the current campaign cycle, it has focused its efforts on state legislative races in an effort to give Republicans greater control of the congressional redistricting process after the 2010 Census. "Republican strategists are focused on 107 seats in 16 states. Winning these seats would give them control of drawing district lines for nearly 190 congressional seats," Karl Rove, who was a senior adviser to President George W. Bush, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining the group’s mission.

Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is the chairman of RSLC. The group is one of five related conservative organizations gearing up for the 2010 election, according to Politico. The others: American Crossroads, American Action Network, American Action Forum, and Resurgent Republican.

It is organized as a 527 political committee and heavily backed by big business: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has donated about $7.2 million over six years, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Its top donor in the current campaign cycle is American Justice Partnership, which has contributed more than $800,000. American Justice Partnership, which has given RSLC nearly $2 million since 2006, seeks legislation that would limit potential liability awards and reduce what it calls "abusive lawsuits."

Other top donors include: Wal-Mart, Pfizer, Devon Energy, AT&T and the tobacco company Reynolds American. RSLC spent about $20 million each in the 2006 and 2008 campaign cycles.