While everything the public has been told about Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren at this point has characterized her as the ultimate foe of Wall Street bankers, a new advertisement released by Karl Rove's non-profit Crossroads GPS has now used Warren's connection to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to insinuate that she was responsible for the bank bailouts that took place at the peak of the financial crisis.
The 30-second ad accuses Warren for bailing out the same banks that caused the financial meltdown, bailouts that helped pay big bonuses to bank executives while middle class Americans lost out and ends with the appeal to tell Professor Warren we need jobs, not more bailouts and bigger government.
TARP was actually proposed by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson -- who previously served at the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs -- and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008. The policy, which allows the U.S. government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen the nation's financial sector, was enacted in order to address the subprime mortgage crisis.
Warren was appointed to chair the five-member Congressional Oversight Panel, the body created to oversee the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, in November 2008, where she released monthly oversight reports evaluating the government bank bailout and related programs. Warren also advocated the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was founded in July 2011 as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a federal statute that implemented financial regulatory reform in the U.S. financial services industry and aims to prevent the subprime lending practices that led to the financial crisis.
Warren, who is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown for his Massachusetts Senate seat, has painted herself as a defender of the middle class and once said she created the intellectual foundation for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In a statement Kyle Sullivan, Warren's spokesman, said the ad was ridiculous considering that Warren has been an outspoken critic of the bank bailout and it's blank check to Wall Street.
The Wall Street bankers financing these attacks are desperate to stop Elizabeth Warren because she's worked so hard to stop Wall Street from ripping off middle class families, Sullivan said.
Just last month, Crossroads GPS released another attack ad that paradoxically attempted to undermine Warren by highlighting her connections to the Occupy movement.
Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told the OpenSecrets Blog that the Crossroads GPS-produced ads are the least effective political advertisements that he has seen.
Rarely do you see such diametrically opposing attacks made by the same group within a short period of time, Sabato said. Given her liberal ideology, a viewer could believe that Warren had some sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, but to make her somehow sympathetic to big bankers and Wall Street? That strains credulity.
The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which runs the OpenSecrets.org database, reports that 57 percent of the $3.15 million Warren has raised for her Senate campaign has come from small-dollar donors who contributed $200 or less. Meanwhile, only $110,000 of her fundraising has come from interests in the finance, insurance and real estate sector.
In contrast, the organization reports that the finance, insurance and real estate sector is Brown's top donor.
While Crossroads GPS, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group that was founded with the assistance of Karl Rove, is not legally required to publicly disclose its donors, its sister organization American Crossroads -- a super PAC-- is. The Center for Responsive Politics reports American Crossroads has raked in $3.8 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector since its inception in March 2010.
While American Crossroads has reportedly only raised $34.7 million since its creation, Jonathan Collegio, the communications director for both American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, told the OpenSecrets Blog the two groups have raised $95 million since March 2010, indicating that approximately $60 million may have been funneled into the organizations through dark money donations.