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A Former GOP Operative, Behind the Nexis of Outside Spending

Karl Rove gets all the attention, but Politico argues that the guy who’s really pulling the strings behind the Republican-boosting outside spending effort is a little-known Republican operative named Carl Forti:

Forti has played a critical role in shaping the ad campaigns of two of the biggest-spending outside groups – American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (or Crossroads GPS, for short), which Rove and veteran operative Ed Gillespie helped create this year – and Forti also is a consultant to two other outside groups that have emerged as top spenders this year: the 60 Plus Association and Americans for Job Security. [...]

Forti told Campaigns & Elections “I’ve been doing the [independent expenditure] stuff for a while” and asserted “over the last three cycles we’ve been getting smarter as to how to relay information” within the bounds of the FEC’s coordination rules.

That’s partly due to having “more experienced political professionals running the political operations at more of these outside groups,” Forti said. “So, I think there are little things that we’re starting to do better now, having had two cycles of outside group experience. When I was at the committee, those outside groups just didn’t exist.”

Like most of the guys now consulting for conservative outside groups, Forti cut his teeth working for the Republican Party, in Forti’s case managing the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $80 million campaign in 2006. It was the largest independent expenditure campaign ever, but the groups Forti works for now are planning to blow this year’s NRCC effort out of the water.

American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS, the 60 Plus Association and Americans for Job Security have already spent $33 million on advertising thus far, and a new $50 million joint advertising strategy — announced by Crossroads, Norm Coleman’s American Action Network, and the Commission for Hope, Growth, and Opportunity — will spend more on television ads in the last three weeks of the midterm campaign season than the NRCC has during the entire campaign cycle.

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