Karl Rove

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Karl Rove is a Republican political consultant with close ties to the Bush family. During his early years in politics, Rove fought to lead the College Republicans, which led to him meeting George H.W. Bush. Rove was Bush's personal assistant as RNC chair. Afterwards, Rove left to work in political consulting in Virginia (in 1976) and then Texas (in 1977). There, he assisted with hundreds of races, gaining a reputation for winning close and tough elections. He also worked on Bush's 1992 re-election campaign, but was forced out due to ethics violations. In 2000, Rove led the winning presidential campaign of George W. Bush, and entered the Bush Administration as a chief adviser to the president. Eventually forced out of the White House due to the numerous scandals surrounding his use of executive power, Rove later reasserted his dominance over GOP politics by coming to control its campaign finance. Rove is infamous for cutthroat dirty politics, but people such as Cliff Arnebeck claim that he has gone even further to ensure Republican victories, heading an election rigging enterprise.


Entry into politics

College Republicans years

Meeting the Bush family

Work for the Virginia GOP

Texas political consulting


Campaign of George W. Bush

Bush Administration

Post-White House career

Super PAC leadership

Media punditry


Political organizations

Campaigns and PACs

  • ...
  • 2000 and 2004 George W. Bush presidential campaigns: Chief strategist

Government positions


Valerie Plame scandal

US attorneys scandal

Don Siegelman prosecution

Main article: Don Siegelman prosecution

Bush Administration emails

Main article: Bush Administration email controversy

Jack Abramoff connection

Main article: Jack Abramoff


Election rigging


Political connections

Republican politics


US intelligence

  • CIA? (evidence is spotty, but interesting)
    • Dana Jill Simpson maintains that Rove was George H.W. Bush's personal assistant as CIA director[3], and Cliff Arnebeck repeats this[4], saying that Rove "was carrying George H. W. Bush’s bag when he was director of the CIA" and "became familiar during that tenure with the CIA operations around the world"
    • Rove worked with Donald Segretti, a political dirty tricks master under Nixon whose actions may have been directed by CIA agent E. Howard Hunt (the FBI purportedly found numerous phone calls from Hunt to Segretti[5])
    • Back in high school, Rove worked for the Senate campaign of Utah politician Wallace F. Bennett. In working on Wallace Bennett's campaign, Rove became friends with his son Bob Bennett. Bob Bennett owned the Robert Mullen Company, a CIA front where Hunt had worked after officially retiring from the CIA.
    • Rove had an influential behind-the-scenes role in the 9/11 Commission, which ultimately hid the evidence of US intelligence responsibility for the attacks. During its formation, Rove was instrumental in the initial selection of Henry Kissinger as chairman, followed by Tom Kean when Kissinger was rejected. During the time that the Commission was set up, Rove had multiple phone conversations with executive director Philip Zelikow for an unclear reason.
    • According to Julian Assange, a diplomatic cable obtained by Wikileaks shows that Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was a US informant dating back to 1973, and his initial contact was Karl Rove. This happens to correspond to the time period that Rove started working for George Bush at the RNC. Rove and Bildt denied any impropriety, but acknowledged their longtime close friendship. During the time that Sweden attempted to frame-up Assange to get him extradited to the US, Rove was advising the CIA-friendly prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, leading to rumors that Rove was orchestrating the persecution of Assange. In the 2012 general election, Anonymous (supporters of Wikileaks) claimed to have stopped Rove from committing fraud and discussed his rivalry with Assange.

Democratic politics

Corporate connections

Lobbying entities

Notable oligarchs


  1. The Atlantic, "Karl Rove in a Corner", 2004/11 - 1994 Rove campaign to elect Republicans to the Alabama state supreme court
  2. Time, "Too Close for Comfort with Abramoff", 2006/09/29 (pages 1, 2)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dana Jill Simpson and Jim March, "Roadmap To Karl Rove's Empire Of Election Fraud", 2012 - Rove's connections to election riggers
  4. Zachary Paul for Cosmoso.net, "EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Ohio Election Fraud Lawyer Cliff Arnebeck", 2016/08/04
  5. Lisa Pease, "Bremer & Wallace: It's Déjà Vu All Over Again", 1999/06/15: "Interestingly, the FBI found numerous phone calls from E. Howard Hunt to Segretti, implying that Hunt was perhaps directing Segretti's efforts."

External links

Bush family

Virginia GOP tenure

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch, "GOP turmoil had Virginia in spotlight - in 1976", 2016/06/19: "If it was Obenshain who brought passion to the Republican Party, it was his successor as chairman, George McMath, an Eastern Shore newspaper publisher, who professionalized it. On McMath's watch, beginning in 1974, the Virginia GOP hired bright young things who would later become household names in business and national politics. [...] Brought on as finance director was a stamp-collecting former organizer of college Republicans credited decades later with installing Bush 2 in the White House: Karl Rove."
  • Washington Post, "Rove Boosts Va. GOP, Kilgore as Democrats Name Chairman", 2005/06/05 - says (perhaps erroneously) that Rove "worked for the Republican Party of Virginia for a year in 1975"
  • According to p.345 of The Dynamic Dominion by Frank B. Atkinson, Rove became finance director in late 1975 or early 1976: "McMath was able to attract an energetic, youthful corps of trained operatives to staff the state Republican headquarters. In late 1975, he tapped William Royall, twenty-nine, a veteran of several GOP campaigns and of the Republican National Committee's communications department, to serve as the party's new executive director. A few months later, a twenty-five-year-old whiz kid named Karl Rove came down from Alexandria to join the party staff as finance director."
  • According to p.42-46 of Courage and Consequence by Karl Rove (his autobiography), he was appointed in late 1975 and joined in early 1976

Texas political consulting

  • Initial move to Texas - was it for a role in the George H.W. Bush campaign?
    • ABC, "Rove: 'I'm Moby Dick'", 2007/08/13: "As Jimmy Carter was being inaugurated in January 1977, Rove moved to Texas to raise money for the older Bush's exploration committee for 1980. In his new home state, Rove became one of the most successful political strategists of the modern era. An estimate from The Atlantic magazine assesses that Rove's candidates were victorious in 34 of the 41 statewide, congressional, and national races for which he served as primary strategist."
    • PBS Frontline, "Karl Rove -- The Architect", "Chronology: Karl Rove's Life and Political Career": "In January 1977, he relocates to Texas to work as a fundraiser for George H. W. Bush's presidential-exploration political action committee. Rove also serves as an informal adviser to George W. Bush, who is making his first run for Congress."
    • Note that January 1977 is right when George Bush Sr. lost his job as CIA director following Jimmy Carter's election as president

US attorneys scandal

Political prosecutions

  • Project Save Justice: Karl Rove's Persecutions: parts 1, 2, 3

Election theft

Post-Bush GOP work

  • Raw Story, "Karl Rove's next move: A million-dollar home on Florida's Emerald Coast", 2008/03/28: "According to political journalist Jim Moore, many factors probably influenced the timing of Rove's resignation--including the desire to cash in on lucrative speaker's fees and the prospect of reinventing himself as a political pundit on the national stage. "Ultimately, though, what probably appeals to Karl the most is being a sort of freelance Dr. Evil," Moore -- a Rove critic -- explained in an email to RAW STORY. "He can do his work now for hire under the guise of any organization that wants to hire him or he can do it for fun and generally avoid the restraint of party or candidate. Have darkness. Will travel.""
  • Politico, "Rove hits big: Birth of a mega-donor", 2012/07/13: "In the new Wild West of giving and getting campaign money, the marriage of casino mogul Steve Wynn and political guru Karl Rove was an exceptionally powerful — and secretive — one. Wynn, the flamboyant Las Vegas billionaire who claims to have voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, was the perfect get for Rove. Wynn was loaded, had soured on Obama and was just the kind of wealthy businessman who could help underwrite a plan hatched by Rove and other influential conservatives to spend close to $1 billion total to win the White House, Senate and House in 2012. Wynn , a registered Democrat until recently, was reluctant to attach his name to any high-dollar gambles on the GOP, worried that Obama’s allies would make him a bogeyman. [...] The courting, which took place in direct conversations and th rough friends and allies of both men, produced big results. Wynn has kicked in millions to Crossroads GPS, according to multiple sources. And Rove, who attended Wynn’s gala wedding last year in Vegas, recently got something of a personal bonus out of the relationship. After Wynn attended the veteran operative’s wedding last month in Austin — an intimate and until-now unreported affair also attended by former President George W. Bush — Rove and his new wife Karen Johnson flew to Naples, Italy, aboard Wynn’s Boeing 737 — a nearly 11-hour, 6,000-mile trip that could cost tens of thousands of dollars from a charter jet carrier. Wynn joined Rove in Italy. [...] The political team Wynn assembled in the last few years to facilitate his political escalation is a case in point. His lobbyist Charlie Spies co-founded the Restore Our Future super PAC to boost Mitt Romney’s GOP presidential campaign. Another co-founder was Carl Forti, the political director of Crossroads GPS. Spies and Forti worked together on Romney’s 2008 campaign — along with Wynn’s corporate government affairs director Mike Britt, who worked in George W. Bush’s political shop under Rove. [...] Spies and Britt wouldn’t comment on what they discussed or their roles in Wynn’s operation. But lobbying filings show Spies’s firms — first McKenna Long & Aldridge and then Clark Hill — have been paid $375,000 by the publicly traded casino-developing and management company Wynn runs, Wynn Resorts, to lobby Congress on a range of internet gambling issues and international taxation, while Britt has been involved in state government lobbying for Wynn. Rove provides political advice in private to a number of donors, and several of them have written big checks to American Crossroads or Crossroads GPS. But a source familiar with GPS said Wynn was its biggest donor, at least through the end of last year. [...] They show $654,000 in disclosed donations since 2008 going almost entirely to GOP candidates and groups — with $406,000 donated from his company to the Republican Governors Association — a change from his pre-2010 giving, which included plenty of cash to Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and their party committees. Wynn considers Reid a friend , and his family gave $9,000 to Joe Biden’s 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. [...] Both Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands corporation and Wynn Resorts have gambling operations in Macao. And the pair lately have collaborated more on political efforts, such as a 2012 fundraiser at Adelson’s Venetian hotel for a joint fundraising committee linked to House Speaker John Boehner, and a 2011 fundraiser for Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) at the Wynn."
  • WBUR, "'Gerrymandering On Steroids': How Republicans Stacked The Nation's Statehouses", 2016/07/19: "It was never a secret. In 2010, the conservative political strategist Karl Rove took to the Wall Street Journal and laid out a plan to win majorities in state legislatures across the country. "He who controls redistricting can control Congress," read the subhead to Rove's column. The plan, which its architects dubbed REDMAP for Redistricting Majority Project, hinged on the fact that states redraw their electoral maps every 10 years according to new Census data. REDMAP targeted states where just a few statehouse seats could shift the balance to Republican control in the crucial Census year of 2010."
  • Koch Brothers (Charles and David) relationship
    • Politico, "Rove vs. the Koch brothers", 2011/10/10: "Karl Rove’s team and the Koch brothers’ operatives quietly coordinated millions of dollars in political spending in 2010, but that alliance, which has flown largely under the radar, is showing signs of fraying."
    • Washington Post, "The Koch brothers can save the Republican Party - by making it more moderate, 2014/05/23: "Recently, no less a Republican Party icon than Karl Rove canonized Charles and David Koch: “Bless them for all they do,” he wrote in Time magazine. Rove’s blessing is the clearest sign yet that the brothers have been granted admission to the inner sanctum of Republican power. Yet for many years the Kochs were enemies of the GOP, whose political primacy they challenged through the libertarian movement. Writing in 1978 in a magazine he owned called Libertarian Review, Charles Koch called the GOP “the party of ‘business’ in the wors[t] sense” and blasted Republicans for advancing a doomed strategy that “has failed so miserably.”"
  • The Nation, "Why Scott Walker Will Never Be President", 2014/06/20 - criminal scheme involving Scott Walker
  • Donald Trump relationship
    • Politico, "Karl Rove-backed PAC warms to Trump", 2016/04/14
    • New York Magazine, "Is Karl Rove Secretly Falling for Donald Trump?", 2016/04/14
    • New York Times, "At Odds Publicly, Donald Trump and Karl Rove Hold a Private Meeting", 2016/06/02 (Las Vegas Sun repost): "[...] two weeks ago, Trump and Rove held a secret meeting as the presumptive Republican nominee was courting major party figures. The meeting took place at the Manhattan home of casino magnate Steve Wynn, a mutual friend who brokered the get-together, according to two people briefed on the meeting and who were granted anonymity to discuss the gathering. [...] The purpose of the meeting was unclear, although Rove is the last strategist to help elect a Republican president, and Trump is lagging organizationally for the upcoming general election. [...] Rove has longstanding relationships with many of the party’s biggest donors, and has intricate knowledge of how super PACs can help elect candidates. Rove also has a long relationship with Sheldon Adelson, another casino magnate who has said he would spend upward of $100 million to back Trump. Adelson and Trump met Tuesday, their second meeting in the past few weeks. Rove has talked with Adelson about what super PAC to use as a vehicle for donating such a large sum of money to support Trump, including possibly using the Crossroads fundraising groups, which he helped establish, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Adelson is also discussing the possibility of creating a new entity that would back Trump, and has been holding talks with Nick Ayers, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, according to two people briefed on the discussions."
    • NPR, "Making Midterm Elections About Trump Is A Bad Idea, Rove Says", 2017/12/23
    • NBC, "At White House, re-election advisers rise as coronavirus task force fades", 2020/05/15: "And while there are some mainstays from his 2016 campaign in the collection of voices, the president is also being advised — both directly and indirectly — by former President George W. Bush's adviser Karl Rove, who came to the White House this week to meet with Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to a senior administration official. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has consulted Rove since the 2018 midterm elections, per three people familiar with the discussions. Before the pandemic, Rove had advised the Trump campaign it could be modeled, in some ways, after the Bush 2004 re-election race. “Even though he’s not a big Trump fan, he hates the Democrats and he hates Biden,” one person said of Rove’s possible motivation. His participation is significant given Trump called out his GOP predecessor last month for not defending him in the impeachment inquiry."
    • CNN, "Administration officials alarmed by White House push to fast track lucrative 5G spectrum contract, sources say", 2020/10/20: "Senior officials throughout various departments and agencies of the Trump administration tell CNN they are alarmed at White House pressure to grant what would essentially be a no-bid contract to lease the Department of Defense's mid-band spectrum -- premium real estate for the booming and lucrative 5G market -- to Rivada Networks, a company in which prominent Republicans and supporters of President Donald Trump have investments. The pressure campaign to fast track Rivada's "Request for Proposal" (RFP) by using authorities that would preclude a competitive bidding process intensified in September, and has been led by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was acting at Trump's behest, sources with knowledge tell CNN. [...] Sources tell CNN that Trump was encouraged to help Rivada by Fox News commentator and veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove, a lobbyist for, and investor in, Rivada. Untold billions are at stake. A government auction of 70 megahertz of spectrum in August went for more than $4.5 billion. The Rivada bid would be for 350 megahertz of spectrum -- five times that amount. [...] Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House and noted Trump supporter, has also been advocating for the Pentagon to share its 5G network with commercial users, and doing so in a way that has left insiders under the impression that he lobbied for Rivada."
  • Steve Bannon relationship
  • OpenSecrets News, "McConnell-allied nonprofit received millions from Rove-linked group in 2016; neither disclosed donors", 2017/11/17

Working with Democrats

CIA connection

Less definitive connections

Other curiosities

  • Tobacco industry closeness
    • Washington Post, "Big Tobacco Takes Its Chances on Bush", 2000/02/18: "Bush's top political aide, Karl Rove, was a consultant to Philip Morris Cos., the nation's largest tobacco company."
    • The Nation, "George W. Bush: Calling for Philip Morris", 1999/10/21: "Some of Bush’s closest aides are allies of Philip Morris, including Karl Rove, the leading Republican Party campaign strategist in Texas. A close friend of Bush’s since the early seventies and Bush’s chief political adviser since the late eighties, Rove–who’s been called “the governor’s Svengali” by National Review–was formally on the payroll of Philip Morris from 1991 to 1996 as a paid political intelligence operative. [...] in Texas, critics of Rove are quick to say that they think he quietly maintains his ties to the company."
    • Note that many of Don Siegelman's political enemies were also supporters of tobacco companies
  • Corporate enrichment
    • BBC, "ENRON: Who's who" page on Karl Rove, 2002: "Mr Rove was one of the biggest holders of Enron stock among White House staffers, with between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of shares when he was appointed. He was required to sell them when the Bush administration took office. The White House has acknowledged that Mr Rove took part in meetings that helped shape the Bush government’s energy policy, while he still held Enron shares and stock in other energy companies – though the administration denies that the meetings were specific enough to raise conflict-of-interest of interest. Mr Rove also recommended the Republican strategist Ralph Reed (former executive director of the Christian Coalition) to Enron for a consulting contract as Mr Bush was considering whether to run for president. Both the White House and Enron deny that this was a deal to secure Mr Reed’s backing, but critics allege the move was intended to keep Mr Reed loyal to the Bush campaign without putting him on the Bush payroll. Critics say Mr Rove’s involvement in Mr Reed's hiring underscores the close association between Enron and the Bush inner circle."
    • David Swanson, "Containing the military industrial complex", 2006/07/15: "The Secretary of the Navy came from General Dynamics, and the Deputy Secretary of State from Raytheon and Boeing – a company that Karl Rove owned $100,000 to $250,000 worth of stock in."
  • Associated Press, "Phone-Jamming Records Point to White House", 2006/04/11
  • Democracy Now, "Ex-Congressional Aide: Karl Rove Personally Received (and Ignored) Iranian Peace Offer in 2003", 2007/02/26 - Swiss ambassador in Tehran had Bob Ney deliver the offer to Karl Rove