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Is Rove Using Abortion To Manipulate West Virginians?

Much of the spending is coming from conservative groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which backed the organization that wrote the abortion bill just passed by the West Virginia legislature. GRAPH from the Center For Responsive Politics.
Much of the spending is coming from conservative groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which backed the organization that wrote the abortion bill just passed by the West Virginia legislature. GRAPH from the Center For Responsive Politics.
March 17, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Why would Karl Rove spend millions getting states such as West Virginia to pass anti-abortion legislation that is unconstitutional and has little chance of going into effect? The state legislature just passed a bill outlawing abortion after 20 weeks. If signed, it is expected to be overturned in court.

Sponsors based it on language by the National Right to Life Committee. That group received nearly $5 million from Republican operative Rove's Crossroads GPS.

Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director, WV FREE, said Crossroads' real purpose is not to reduce abortions, but to create a wedge issue and attack pro-choice lawmakers.

"It's a sad day when our legislature chooses to listen to political operatives like Karl Rove. Unfortunately, women's health has repeatedly been used as a political football," Pomponio said.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), Crossroads is funneling what's called dark money into the states - big anonymous donations from corporations and rich individuals that can be used to buy a mudslide of negative attack ads. Pro-choice members of the state legislature already report robo-calls going out against them.

Robert Maguire, CRP political nonprofit investigator, said they can expect a lot more, given the amount of dark money Crossroads has.

"It's just an eye-popping sum of money that we can't trace back to a specific donor. And they're coming from Alexandria, Va., Washington, D.C. - this is not West Virginia money."

The bill's West Virginia supporters have said they have a moral objection to abortion; McGuire said he doesn't doubt that. However, he added, many of the big outside groups could care less about the issue. Their real objective is to manipulate people, he said, controlling who goes to the polls through attacks designed to make voters feel cynical and frustrated.

"Voters are left with the impression that all of their choices are bad," McGuire explained. "So they ask, 'What's the point? What's the point in going to the polls and just electing the lesser of two evils?'"

Neither Crossroads GPS nor National Right to Life returned calls requesting comment.

More information on the Crossroads/Right to Life dark money picture is available by searching www.opensecrets.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV