Campaign Finance

For-Profit GOP Opposition Research Group Reports Major Haul

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch welcomes delegates to the New York City at the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York, August 30, 2004. Republicans start the convention in an upbeat mood after a flurry of new polls showed Bush gaining ground and slightly leading his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. REUTERS/Brian Snyder US ELECTION HK/HB - RTR9K06 REUTERS/Brian Snyder

It's a boomtime for a new outside group built to bash Democratic candidates and Hillary Clinton

America Rising LLC, the for-profit opposition research firm founded by Republican Party operatives, took in more than $1.3 million in revenue from regulated political groups in the last six months of 2013, the group announced Friday.

“In just over six months America Rising LLC has grown into the largest research and tracking organization on the right, working with myriad GOP and conservative organizations to make sure Democrats are held accountable for their records,” said Tim Miller, a founding partner of America Rising LLC, said in a statement to TIME. “We are encouraged by the support we’ve received across the party and our expectation and plan is that America Rising LLC will grow its staff and geographic footprint in 2014.”

Founded by former Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades, and former Republican National Committee operatives Miller and Joe Pounder, America Rising LLC doesn’t report its earnings to the Federal Election Commission. But many of its clients, including campaigns and third party groups, do disclose payments to America Rising, prompting the group to open its own books this week before a key filing deadline. The $1.3 million sum only includes earnings from political groups that report to the FEC, including American Crossroads, American Action Network, Young Guns, Citizens United, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It does not include the firm’s corporate and individual clients; that information is not publicly available.

An associated America Rising Political Action Committee, which does disclose its contributions to federal regulators, will report raising $455,617.37 in the last half of 2013, including in-kind contributions from the for-profit affiliate and $100,000 from the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.

America Rising and its associated PAC were founded last year as a response to Democratic research and tracking group American Bridge, which hounded Republicans during the 2012 campaign. The Republican group employs more than 50 researchers and trackers across 19 states, focusing on vulnerable 2014 Democrats and the potential 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

“America Rising PAC has been successful at raising the funds necessary to run a robust earned media communications effort that has been leading the way in taking on Hillary Clinton ahead of her potential presidential bid,” Miller added in the TIME statement. “We plan to significantly expand the groups digital footprint in the coming months targeting both Hillary and Democrats facing tough midterm elections in 2014.”

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