A civil war is brewing in the Republican Party, with outside groups competing for power against the establishment, and Brent Bozell III would lead the outsiders to victory with a six-figure “Dump The Leadership” campaign.
It probably won’t come as a surprise that the man behind the group is none other than L. Brent Bozell III, the right-wing flamethrower who’s proven himself plenty willing to take on the GOP establishment.
After Paul Ryan hashed out a bipartisan budget deal late last year, Bozell predicted that the conservative base would “stampede away from a party that has lost its principles and bearings.”
“Time and again, year after year, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate has come to grassroots conservatives, and Tea Party supporters pleading for our money, our volunteers, our time, our energy and our votes,” Bozell told CNN in a statement.
Bozell is the founder and president of the Media Research Center, a right wing propaganda shop that would like to be the antimatter to Media Matters. He is also the president of For America, the outside group funding his intra-party feud, which is co-located with the MRC. One of Bozell’s “moderate” Republican targets is Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and although conventional wisdom holds Steve Stockman‘s primary challenge to be a long shot, Bozell has the resources to make the race very messy if he wants to. After all, this is the man who once referred to President Obama as a “skinny ghetto crackhead,” and his organization retains Creative Response Concepts, the same PR firm that invented the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign against John Kerry in 2004. According to For America’s IRS 990, they paid CRC $624,974 for “media & consulting services” in 2012, so Bozell can throw quite a bit of very icky mud. He has been throwing it at Karl Rove for the last ten months:
Conservatives continue to wage war over the future of the Republican Party, with Media Research Center president Brent Bozell and several other activists penning a letter discouraging donors from giving money to Karl Rove’s new political group.
Rove has been the focus of conservative anger for weeks following the announcement of Conservative Victory Project, a new group he is launching with the help of the allies behind his Crossroads political groups. According to the New York Times, the group will seek to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts.”
Out of its $5 million budget, For America also spent $3.6 million on advertising and promotion in 2012, which brings us to another salient point: Bozell runs a purely partisan political organization that enjoys 501(c)(4) nonprofit status, and according to the letter of the law, the IRS ought to have revoked that status years ago. Not coincidentally, Bozell and many of his friends at For America took part in the Groundswell campaign that lobbied House GOP leadership to pursue the fake IRS controversy last year. “Swiftboating” the IRS with ginned-up outrage this way deflected attention from the fact that the conservative movement is rife with organizations that have questionable nonprofit status and “outsiders” with sloppy reporting habits.
For example, Steve Stockman runs a very sketchy nonprofit organization, and Bozell wants to put him in the United States Senate, where he can presumably forestall any efforts to clarify the tax code on this point. It is good work if you can get it.
Video: Brent Bozell addresses Tea Party Patriots at the Audit the IRS rally last June.