Crossroads chairman: 'There's not too much money in politics'

The chairman of the conservative political group American Crossroads disputed the notion that there's too much money in politics, defending the role of outside spending groups in elections.

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Mike Duncan, the chairman of the board for American Crossroads and a former Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman, defended the group's work and its spending, which is projected to reach $120 million in the 2012 cycle.

"There's not too much money in politics," Duncan said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "I firmly believe that there is a role for various organizations."

Crossroads burst onto the political scene during the 2010 election cycle, taking advantage of restrictions that were done away with by a Supreme Court decision last year, which freed up corporate and labor spending on elections. Crossroads was particularly effective in boosting Republicans in congressional campaigns, and it spurred the creation of a variety of so-called "super-PACs" that hope to sway the 2012 campaign.

"We play by the laws as they are," said Steven Law, the group's president and CEO. "I feel very comfortable with what we do and how we promote debate and raise issues."

But that influence would be limited to general elections, both Law and Duncan said; Crossroads would not take a stand in the Republican presidential primary, or House or Senate primaries, they said.

Questions about whether Crossroads might endorse in the presidential primary had been raised on Thursday after Carl Forti, a political adviser for Crossroads, signed on to help create a Super PAC intended to boost former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) presidential campaign.

Law said that Crossroads wasn't concerned about the appearance of implicit support for Romney by Crossroads because of its association with Forti, who is a contract employee.
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"Carl in particular is a professional, and it's not something I think we're worried about at all," Law said.

The duo said it's conceivable, though, that Crossroads might get involved in the late stages of the presidential primary — not to boost a candidate, but to defend a likely nominee (if one has emerged) from attacks by President Obama's campaign and other liberal groups.

As for its spending on the three categories of elections — House, Senate and presidential — Law said there's no breakdown in how Crossroads plans to advocate its resources.

"A lot of it will depend on how opportunities shape up in each ... which is what we found last time," he said. "It'll be recalibrated several times over."