Liberal counterweight to outside GOP groups launches

Democratic activist David Brock is set to officially launch American Bridge, a political action committee intended to directly combat conservative groups, which dumped millions into the 2010 elections.     

Brock told The New York Times that he has already won commitments from donors totaling at least $4 million in just the last few weeks and will officially file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.  

Heading the group as chairwoman will be Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the former lieutenant governor of Maryland. Townsend ran an unsuccessful campaign for Maryland governor in 2002. 

The goal of American Bridge is to act as a counterweight to groups like American Crossroads, offshoot group Crossroads GPS and the American Action Network — conservative groups that raised and spent millions on TV ads targeting Democrats in 2010. 

Brock, who heads the liberal group Media Matters, already has a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group at his disposal. He told the Times he also intends to utilize that existing structure in his 2012 efforts. 

More from the NYT:

Certain to set off debate, however, is that Mr. Brock appears to be positioning his new organization so that fund-raising consultants can raise money for Democratic-oriented media efforts not just through American Bridge but also via one of the nonprofit organizations Mr. Brock currently runs, Media Matters Action Network, which does not disclose its donors.

The action network, which tracks conservative politicians and advocacy organizations, is organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group and is set to take on an expanded role in the 2012 elections, including potentially running television ads, according to an internal draft concept paper about American Bridge’s and Media Matter Action Network’s plans obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Brock said that “money is money,” and that he would actively solicit donors for both entities and, in the end, the media spending would be apportioned accordingly.  

Brock attempted to lead a similar effort in 2008, but then-Sen. Obama publicly and privately asked Democratic donors not to fund the outside efforts. With a cycle of success under their belt and conservative groups already gearing up to target the president, the White House has indicated it won't object in 2012.