Major outside GOP money groups foreswore support of Representative Todd Akin in his bid to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill after he made disturbing comments about “legitimate rape,” and so far they’ve stood by their word—until now. One major, mainstream GOP group has started spending on the Missouri race, and it’s entirely possible it is funneling money from other groups who swore they would never back Akin.
The National Federation of Independent Business, a major lobbying group and that purports to represent American small-business owners, recently created a 501(c)(4) spin-off, the NFIB Voice of Free Enterprise Inc.
Yesterday, NFIB Voice of Free Enterprise Inc. notified the FEC that it spent $10,453 in the Missouri Senate race, for mailings that opposed McCaskill. The group did not make any public statements or other indications that it was now backing Akin, but told The Nation the mailer would go to 16,000 small-business owners in the state, and in eight other states where there’s a Senate race.
The mailer, which NFIB shared with The Nation, implores recipients in large block letters to “VOTE AGAINST CLAIRE MCCASKILL” and ticks off her positions on the Affordable Care Act, cap-and-trade laws and the Bush tax breaks for top earners.
NFIB officials said they don’t expect the mailing to be controversial. “What we really care about is our members, and we don’t expect an uproar from them, because from them the issues that are important are the ones that affect their business,” said Jean Card, vice president of media and communications at NFIB. “Akin does have a very good voting record with us. He’s what we call a guardian of small business.”
This giving is significant in itself—NFIB Voice of Free Enterprise Inc. is the first mainstream Republican group to get involved in the race after the “legitimate rape” controversy. Until now, only hard-right conservative groups ponied up for Akin, like Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, and Freedom’s Defense Fund, a wacky group run by conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi.
But NFIB is a different animal. It’s research on the supposed harm done to small businesses by letting the Bush tax rates on top earners has been cited by Mitt Romney, in the recent presidential debate, and repeatedly by Scott Brown in his debates with Elizabeth Warren. The NFIB itself has launched multimillion-dollar efforts to get Republicans—and almost exclusively Republicans—elected to Congress, and this (c)(4) that it has created, now backing Akin, has spent $383,405 (through October 9) exclusively supporting Republicans or opposing Democrats.