It is not clear whether Brock’s commitment to building a powerful super PAC this cycle has detracted from Media Matters.
Financial information is not available for 2011, but Ari Rabin-Havt, executive vice president of Media Matters, said the group has not suffered because of the growth of American Bridge. Media Matters raised $13.2 million in 2010, up from $6.7 million the year before, according to the most recent IRS filings.
“Bridge has more of a focus on this year’s election cycle,” one donor who has supported both organizations told Roll Call. “There will be all this super PAC money, and most of it coming from the right. The left needs to defend itself.”
Even though Republican super PACs outraised Democratic groups 3-to-1 in 2011, Democrats say that for the first time, they are poised to win the messaging war.
“I rely on [Bridge] everyday,” said Paul Begala, a consultant and strategist for Priorities USA. “The duplication of effort that would be required if Bridge did not exist would be massive and expensive.”
The right does not have anything like it — a PAC serving as a clearinghouse for opposition research. And while liberals rail against the Supreme Court decision that ushered in this new breed of PAC that can accept unlimited donations from corporations and individuals, they agree that the existence of super PACs facilitates coordination between third-party groups.
American Crossroads, the leading GOP super PAC that focuses almost entirely on paid media, has fewer than 20 staffers compared with Bridge’s 50 employees.
Bridge has run only one paid advertisement, a print spread funded by the organization’s 501(c)(4) arm dinging former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for changing his stance on abortion.
“It’s a very different model than Crossroads,” said Jonathan Collegio, communications director of American Crossroads. “They have an extremely high overhead and burn rate because there is so many staff.”