Republicans create alternative political group

Former Republican Party officials are forming a new political fundraising group that could compete with the Republican National Committee, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

American Crossroads, as the group is called, wants to raise $52 million from big Republican donors and corporations with an eye on assisting GOP candidates in the fall midterm elections.

Here is more from the Journal:

It is the latest – and most ambitious – effort by conservatives to create outside campaign groups that can compete with those run by Democrats. Labor unions and Democrats generally outspend Republicans on independent political activities.

In the last few months, Republicans have announced the creation of several outside organizations that plan to raise money from corporations and wealthy conservatives to support Republican candidates. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it plans to spend as much as $50 million on advertising to support pro-business, mostly Republican candidates.

The new American Crossroads organization will be run by former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and Joanne Davidson, a onetime RNC co-chair. Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie and former White House adviser Karl Rove are informally advising the organization.

The day-to-day operations will be handled by Steven Law, who is leaving a top role at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Republican consultants Jim Dyke will also be involved.

The move comes at a time when several large donors have said they will stop giving money to the RNC. Some donors, who have chafed at the tenure of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, have complained that the party is spending too much on

Those sentiments again rose to the surface this week when it was revealed that the party reimbursed donors for a party at a bondage-themed nightclub in Los Angeles. The RNC has said that Steele had no knowledge of the expenditure and has attempted to shine light on lavish expenditures at the DNC.

American Crossroads' birth also comes after a ruling in a Supreme Court case earlier this year allowed unlimited corporate spending on politics. The leaders of the group say that it was not created as a response to the Citizens United case:

People involved say the new group wasn’t created in response to a recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations more freedom to spend money on political advertising. Instead, Dyke said, the Republicans decided to start the organization because they “recognized in 2004 that Democrats were using all the tools at their disposal to elect Democrats, something that became even more obvious in the 2006 and 2008 elections.”

He added: “This is not a flash in the pan response to 2010 but something that will be around for cycles.”