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“Reince, this is Karl. What’s the status on your letter to Justice on Obama’s illegal campaign ad?”
Rove had alerted Priebus to an ad that the Obama campaign had videotaped in the White House map room, telling him that it was illegal. “Write a letter to Holder and leak it to the media,” Rove had demanded.
Priebus knew that previous presidents had done the same sort of thing, including most recently, George W. Bush, and he knew that Justice considered it fine and dandy. But he also knew that Rove’s gambit had nothing to do with what Justice would or wouldn’t do, but was all about the spin.
“I sent the letter and just got off the phone with some third-tier flunky at Justice. She said they would take it under consideration, but not to expect an answer any time soon,” Priebus said.
“But you leaked it to the press?” Rove said.
“Good. Listen, I finally talked with Romney and Gingrich. They’ve agreed to go along with the Roemer package.” Rove wasn’t being truthful on this, but he’d gotten both potential nominees to waffle word him a response that would be good enough for a second-level cabinet post or an ambassadorial position somewhere. “I’m meeting with Buddy this afternoon. Have someone on your staff make up all the paperwork to establish a third party. I want to--”
“On MY staff?” Priebus said. Priebus knew he shouldn’t even be talking to Rove, let alone assisting him in his various schemes. But with Rove came money, and money was what it was all about.
“I have my people up to their eyeballs in working senate elections, Reince. Checking the metrics, building the volunteer organizations. Lots of stuff. I’ve just had my lawyers submit an advisory opinion to FEC saying it’s legal to use incumbent members of Congress in advertisements.”
Rove’s American Crossroads PAC had formally requested it be allowed to produce and distribute television and radio advertisements featuring on camera footage or voice-overs of incumbent members of congress up for re-election. The purpose of the ads would be promote Republican members of Congress up for reelection, but American Crossroads lawyers argued that the spots would focus on policy and legislative issues.
“So I heard,” said Priebus. “But look, Karl, if it gets out that the RNC is putting together the paperwork to form a third party, we could all go to jail.”
“Well I doubt that,” said Rove. I wouldn’t be going to jail, he thought. “But okay, I’ll get DCI to do it.”
DCI Group was a high-powered Republican lobby and PR firm that claimed it helped corporations ‘navigate their most challenging political, legislative and regulatory problems anywhere in the world.’ They were practiced at what they called ‘reframing the issue,’ and working through ‘think tanks’ to cast doubt on scientific findings detrimental to their client’s interests. Rove made frequent use of their services.
“How’s the primary schedule shaping up?” Rove asked, knowing that Priebus had been fighting to keep the state’s from leap-frogging each other to move up their primary dates to gain influence in picking the Party’s candidate.
“Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida in January. Anybody try to move their date up is gonna have their delegates pulled,” Priebus said.
“Atta boy! said Rove. “Listen, Reince, it just occurred to me that we could use DCI to help push those new laws to, uh, level the playing field on voting. What do you think?”
Rove was talking about GOP attempts to require government-issued photo identification for voting, eliminate same day voter registration, require proof of citizenship to register to vote, including a passport, impose stricter requirements for voter registration drives, reduce early voting days. The idea was to make voting harder for about five million people in the 2012 election; people who traditionally voted democratic.
“We’re making progress all down the line in about 12 states, but any help we can get, unofficially, of course...” and here Priebus chuckled, “...would be greatly appreciated.”
“You got it!” Rove said. “What are you doing about Devine’s decision blocking that suit on prison-based gerrymandering?”
Rove was talking about Republican efforts to have prisoners counted in the districts where they were incarcerated, instead of their home of record, thereby inflating population statistics in favor of less-densely populated Republican districts.
“We have our lawyers reviewing the decision,” Priebus said, checking the ID on another call he had.
“Okay. Well, I’ll keep you posted on the soon-to-be announced OWS third party.” Rove hung up and immediately called Roemer’s number.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.