Among the biggest advertisers in the presidential campaign is a group that says it doesn't do political advertising: Crossroads GPS.
Crossroads GPS — which stands for Grassroots Policy Strategies — was co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove. It and others like it enable wealthy donors to finance attack ads while avoiding the public identification they would face if they gave to more overtly political committees.
With a not guilty verdict on one count and the jury deadlocked on five others, it appears John Edwards' federal trial on campaign-finance charges ended with a whimper, certainly from the Justice Department's point of view.
At first blush, it can be argued that how the trial of the former U.S. senator from North Carolina ended may do little to deter politicians. They'll still be able to go forward and rake in money from supporters and, with some sleight of hand, spend that cash on practically anything.
In the world of high-dollar politics, the billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch are famous for their lavish funding of conservative politicians and causes. But there's another Koch brother — William — who is passionate about many things, but only recently about politics.
Bill Koch is an avid yachtsman, and he set out to win the 1992 America's Cup. It would take four boats, more than 260 team members and single-minded determination.
David Rosow was the team's business manager and is a longtime friend of Koch's.
Hotshot political consultant Matt Mackowiak is a rising star in the very lucrative world of political consulting. His firm, the Potomac Strategy Group, helps Republicans win elections, but he's not working with Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign this election year.
People who are part of Mackowiak's tribe — the strategists, the opposition researchers, the pollsters — are discovering that they can have a much bigger impact working for outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money, unencumbered by the rules that restrict what a presidential campaign can do.