Two conservative political action committees founded in part by Karl Rove are getting some major fundraising help heading into the 2012 election.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former lobbyist who is considered one of the Republican Party's most skilled fundraisers, has signed up to raise cash for American Crossroads and its sister group, Crossroads GPS.
The Crossroads groups, early members of the so-called "shadow GOP," spent more than $70 million in the final months of the 2010 election, when they first emerged on the fundraising scene. The sister PACs announced last week they have already raised nearly $25 million so far this year, with at least $1 million already spent on TV ads targeting President Obama.
The groups are expected to be among the biggest players in the 2012 campaign because there are no legal limits on what the PACs are allowed to raise and spend on the upcoming election. A key distinction between the committees is that American Crossroads, a so-called 527 political group, is required to disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission while Crossroads GPS, a 501c4 group, is not.
Signing Barbour is a major coup for the Crossroads network. A former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Barbour headed the Republican Governors Association during the 2010 campaign, helping the committee raise a record-breaking $115 million.
Barbour considered running for the Republican presidential nomination, but announced in April that he would skip the race.