Law at CPAC: Party Kingmaking Gone

Photograph by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Sen. Tim Scott speaks at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md, on March 14, 2013.

Steven Law, who leads several outside groups that help finance Republican candidates, argued today at the Conservative Political Action Conference that political parties are no longer the force they once were.

Speaking at a panel about who should pick candidates, Law said party leaders were once powerful enough to usher a chosen person to office. No longer, he said. Because of campaign-finance laws that limit contributions, he said, “there are no kingmakers in the parties in the way that there used to be.”

Enter, outside groups.

Super political action committees have more funding freedom than the parties — they can accept unlimited sums from individuals, unions and corporations and spend that money on ads attacking and helping candidates of their choice.

Law just so happens to have several such groups.

His latest, the Conservative Victory Project, will spend money in Republican primaries. Law and fellow strategist Karl Rove said they will back the most conservative candidates who can win general elections.

These outside groups “can’t pick a candidate, but it’s OK to support a candidate,” Law said.

But some leaders of the anti-tax Tea Party movement and of socially conservative groups such as Brent Bozell’s For America don’t want Law and Rove involved in primaries at all.

Bozell today said that he is sending a letter to major contributors to another Rove entity, American Crossroads, warning them not to give him more money.

“Groups like Crossroads squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in what were arguably the most inept campaign advertising efforts ever,” Bozell says in the letter.

Law said during the CPAC panel that various Republican groups should work together to find and promote quality candidates.

“We have got to pull together to stop the most serious threat to liberty that probably anyone has seen in our lifetime,” he said, referring to President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda.

One questioner at the panel epitomized the mixed feelings Republicans have about the Conservative Victory Project, saying he’d withhold judgment until he sees what kinds of candidates it supports.

“I’m either 100 percent for you or 100 percent against you,” the questioner said. “I can’t decide.”

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