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News ::
The Fire that Drives our Foes: The Club for Growth (english)
11 May 2003
One lesson we've learned from the left is that if you really want to advance your agenda, take out an incumbent who opposes you. This terrorizes all the rest. In fact, it's amazing how quickly cowardly politicians see things our way when they believe that their political careers are in danger.
from GOP Faces Battle Within - Republicans On Right Target Party Moderates
by Liz Halloran, ctnow.com (The Hartford Courant), May 9, 2003

...The 4-year-old Club for Growth evolved from the New York City-based Political Club for Growth. It was an informal group of a few dozen Wall Street executives who would invite politicians to their meetings, and whose intent was to get a Republican Congress elected.

The political club languished when Newt Gingrich was installed as Republican speaker, Moore said, and the "wind went out of our sails." After GOP losses in 1998, the group was reconstituted as the Club for Growth in an effort to capitalize on anger over feelings that the party had thrown away its money pursuing President Clinton's impeachment.

"We were able at that time to feed into that frustration" by offering a strict conservative economic message and adherence to Reaganomics, Moore said.

With Bush's election, they have come into their own, said Sheila Krumholz, research director for the Center for Responsive Politics, a group that tracks political contributions and influence.

"It has been a huge boon both financially and strategically for the Bush administration," she said. "They are a fascinating group and have created quite a powerhouse."

When asked what role the White House plays in club decisions, Moore said "not much."

"Sometimes they think we're helpful. Sometimes they think we're a pain in the ass."

The club's contributions come, Krumholz said, from an elite class of donors - managing partners, CEOs, investment analysts. Of the more than $4.2 million collected last year, only $452,000 came from donations to be given directly to candidates. The remainder was counted as part of the unlimited amount groups such as the Club for Growth can collect and spend on issue ads, get-out-the-vote efforts, or any other political effort short of a direct contribution.

It's in that realm of unlimited donations that the club swings the big bat.

"They're huge," said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, who has reviewed the club's IRS filings, under which it is registered as a "527 group" - tax-exempt and chartered by the IRS to influence elections.

"They are the eighth-largest section 527 group that's filed with the IRS," Holman said, "and very clearly they're going to become a major, major powerhouse if campaign finance laws are changed."

In February of this year, the club took in $650,000.

It is in the company of Emily's List, which raised $6.6 million in 2002, the AFL-CIO, which raised $5.5 million, AFSCME People, with $5.1 million, and New American Optimist, founded by Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., $4.6 million. The largest 527 is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which raised $18.7 million, but could fall out of first place if new campaign finance laws that restrict union giving are deemed constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on that question.

The Club for Growth doesn't accept any corporate or union money; all contributions come from individuals - and some are extremely generous, from pharmaceutical and health giants, and with names such as Searle, Schwab and Estee Lauder.

...Moore, who describes himself as a Libertarian, does not deny that a conservative moral strain runs through the club's membership, but he says members are not allowed to discuss such issues as abortion and gun control.

"We truly do not look at the person's positions on issues like abortion, but the one thing I have found though is that there is a high overlap - strong conservatives tend to be strong moral conservatives, too," he said.

Conservative thinkers such as Tripp Baird at the Heritage Foundation say Moore and his group have simply brought discipline to the Republican Party.

"I think Moore is onto something," Baird said. "He's trying to make it very painful for Republicans who run as fiscal conservatives and to come inside the Beltway and become big taxers. He's doing the dirty work that a lot of people don't want to do."

And there certainly is an element of intimidation in the club's tactics. Even Moore agrees.

About the Snowe and Voinovich ad, he said: "We wanted to put Republicans on notice that we wouldn't tolerate defections. We succeeded in that.

"We advertised to all Republicans: If you defect, we might come after you, too."

http://www.ctnow.com/news/custom/newsat3/hc-gop0509.artmay09,0,7864522.s

------------------------------

from What's at stake in the 2004 elections?
by The Club for Growth

Since we target the most competitive races, your membership in the Club will help Republicans keep control of the Congress. What's more, it will help Republicans keep control by electing leaders committed to the pro-growth, limited government beliefs you share. Not by electing Republicans who vote like Democrats.

And, as a member of the Club for Growth, you will be part of an organization whose goal is to defeat status quo incumbents.

One lesson we've learned from the left is that if you really want to advance your agenda, take out an incumbent who opposes you. This terrorizes all the rest. In fact, it's amazing how quickly cowardly politicians see things our way when they believe that their political careers are in danger.

Ed Crane of the Cato Institute has praised the Club for Growth as "the conscience of the Republican Party." And as you know, even the GOP needs a conscience.

That's the power of the Club for Growth ... that's the power that is yours as a Club member.

So if you believe as we do that the only candidates worth supporting are those who understand the way the world really works—that a strong economy and a strong America are one and the same-and who will, therefore fight relentlessly for cutting taxes, controlling federal spending and minimizing government's role in our daily lives, please join the Club for Growth today.

http://www.clubforgrowth.org/whats.php
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