Conservative organization FreedomWorks is fundraising off of Fox News contributor Karl Rove's efforts to, in the group's words, “silence grassroots activists and make sure that only big-government RINO's call the shots in Washington.”
Rove, along with allies from his Crossroads political groups, recently launched the Conservative Victory Project. According to The New YorkTimes, the group will work to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts.” The project has sparked a civil war among conservative commentators, with some of Rove's own Fox News colleagues calling the group “absolutely repulsive” and “an incumbency protection racket.”
FreedomWorks, which attacked Rove when the project was announced, has launched NotKarlsParty.com. In a video touting the effort, FreedomWorks spokeswoman and Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli says that “Karl Rove and his unprincipled establishment candidates” are trying to “take over the GOP.” The message asks followers to visit NotKarlsParty.com to “file a petition to give Karl Rove a piece of your mind.”
NotKarlsParty.com features a cartoon caricature of Rove dragging a recalcitrant elephant and tells Rove “It's not your party”:
Dear Karl: It's not your Party
When Karl Rove was in charge, we got $5 trillion in debt, huge unfunded entitlement programs, Washington-controlled schools, and massive Wall Street bailouts. Now he wants to make sure your conservative voice is silenced.
It's time for grassroots conservatives to tell Karl Rove once and for all: RINO's need not apply.
The site asks readers to fill in their information and email address to “Make Your Voice Heard.” Signing the petition sends the user to a FreedomWorks donation page, which states: “We can't let the establishment silence Grassroots Conservatives across the country. Your generous gift will ensure that your voice and millions of others are heard! The old way doesn't work. Let's send Karl Rove a message: We WON'T be silenced!”
FreedomWorks has recently come under scrutiny due to bizarre internal feuding and questions about its finances. Former FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey recently told Media Matters that the group wasted money by paying Glenn Beck $1 million last year to fundraise for the organization. Armey reportedly received an $8 million buyout from FreedomWorks mega-donor Richard Stephenson to leave the organization following a fight with FreedomWorks president and CEO Matt Kibbe. FreedomWorks groups raised nearly $41 million last year, with most of that money coming from wealthy individual donors.
Salon's Alex Pareene wrote last month that the GOP civil war is “giving all the groups involved a wonderful new sales pitch for their fundraising efforts.”