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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS

Political leanings: Republican

Spending target: Unknown

The Crossroads “twins” are affiliated conservative advocacy groups formed in 2010 with the help of two GOP power players: Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Karl Rove, who served as senior adviser to President George W. Bush. They “encouraged the formation” of American Crossroads and served as “informal advisers” and fundraisers, the group’s then-spokesman, Jonathan Collegio, told us at the time. Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies (Crossroads GPS) was formed as an affiliated organization shortly after the formation of American Crossroads.

Steven Law is president of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. He served as deputy secretary of labor in the administration of George W. Bush and then as chief legal officer and general counsel to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chairman of American Crossroads is Mike Duncan, former president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. He served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2007 to 2009. More recently, Duncan was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017 to chair the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. The chairman of Crossroads GPS is Bobby Burchfield, who was general counsel to President George H.W. Bush’s 1992 reelection campaign.

As a super PAC, American Crossroads is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts provided all donations and expenditures are reported publicly. Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4), does not have to disclose any information about who gives to it. The group was formed because “some donors didn’t want to be disclosed” and were “more comfortable” giving to an entity that keeps donors’ names secret, according to Carl Forti, the political director at the time for American Crossroads. However, it still must disclose any spending advocating for or against a candidate.

The groups ranked among the biggest outside players in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections. They combined to spend nearly $180 million in the 2012 campaign cycle — tops among all outside groups.

But the groups have been largely inactive since 2014.

During the 2016 election cycle, American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS spent just $135,000 on independent expenditures, down from nearly $48 million in 2014.

According to the Federal Election Commission, American Crossroads has received about $1.8 million in contributions for the 2018 election cycle, most of which came from the Hillwood Development Company in Dallas, Texas, which is headed by Ross Perot Jr. The super PAC has not yet made any independent expenditures this election cycle.