The Club for Growth is a conservative group whose goals include making President Bush's tax cuts permanent, repealing the estate tax, cutting government spending and promoting free trade and tort reform — not to mention deregulation in general.
The group has been active in congressional races this year, but has not decided whether to support GOP presidential candidate John McCain.
The group was founded in 1999 by Stephen Moore (now a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board); National Review Chair Thomas L. "Dusty" Rhodes; Cato Institute President Ed Crane; stockbroker Richard Gilder; and Larry Kudlow, a former Reagan adviser and co-host of CNBC's Kudlow & Cramer.
The group supports "pro-growth" candidates, especially in Republican primaries, where it does not hesitate to criticize Republican incumbents for being too moderate.
In 2004, the group spent heavily in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), favoring the more conservative Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA). After Toomey's defeat, he became president of Club for Growth.
The Federal Election Commission sued and fined the Club for Growth's 527 for violating election laws by expressly advocating for the defeat of candidates in the 2004 election season.
Its old 527, called Citizens Club for Growth, is now inactive, though it also has another 527 called ClubForGrowth.net, which the group uses to pay for TV ads. The main Club for Growth is now a 501(c)4, and it also has another affiliated 501(c)4 called Club for Growth State Action. There is also a Club for Growth political action committee.
Funders: In 2008, Richard Gilder ($200,000); Virginia James ($500,000); Richard Schaife ($25,000); Jackson Stephens ($100,000); Bob Perry ($250,000); John D. Bryan ($75,000); Richard Sharp ($100,000). In 2007, John Childs ($200,000); Bob Perry ($200,000); and Jackson Stephens ($200,000).
Leadership: Patrick J. Toomey, Chuck Pike, David Keating, Adam Rozansky, Andrew Roth, Erika Sather, Nachama Soloveichik, Thomas L. "Dusty" Rhodes, Richard Gilder, Ken Blackwell, Frayda Levin, Howard Rich, Jackson T. Stephens, Ed Crane. Read more about these leaders in the Secret Money Leadership Directory.
Will Evans is a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, NPR's partner on the Secret Money Project.