OTR Interviews

Rove: Obama campaign trying to intimidate my Crossroads GPS group with 'thuggish behavior'

Karl Rove responds to the Obama campaign seeking the names of donors to his Crossroads GPS group


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 20, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The Obama campaign wants names. It is demanding that Crossroads GPS, co-founded by Karl Rove, disclose the names of all of its donors. Now, right now, Crossroads is spending millions and millions to defeat President Obama, and the Obama campaign wants to know what rich people want the president out. The Obama campaign is so intent on getting those names that its lawyer just filed a complaint with the FEC.

Why now? Well, last week, a federal court upheld laws requiring non- profits to reveal their donors, but only if the group's major purpose is politics.

Karl Rove is back with us. Karl, once again, you're in the news again. So the big question is, Crossroads GPS -- is it a political committee or a social welfare organization? And how do you know?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER BUSH SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, it's a social welfare organization because it spends the vast preponderance of its money in furtherance of its social welfare goals. It's an issue advocacy group.

For example, it's talking right now about the need to change our policies on spending and debt, how we've got to rein in the debt because we're -- our debt is growing at $4 billion a day and we need to begin to demonstrate some fiscal responsibility.

So it meets these tests. It has met so for the last two years. And we have some of the best lawyers in the country both on a tax side and on the political side, political law -- election law to make certain that we never get close to a line that would push us into -- make GPS a political group, as opposed to a social welfare organization.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what's -- what do you think is sort of the message you're getting by the FEC complaint?

ROVE: Well, Bob Bauer is -- the counsel for the Obama campaign, is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, with a commissioner who is his former law partner. And you'll notice he did not include the Democratic 501-C-4 groups that run ads on issues like the NAACP Voter Fund, which ran an ad in the 2000 campaign saying that George W. Bush was a bigot, using 501-C-4 dollars, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Abortion Rights Action League, the Sierra Club, not even America's Priorities, which has a 501-C-4.

None of those were mentioned and all of them are social organizations just like GPS. This is an attempt to intimidate people who might otherwise contribute to GPS, and this is, frankly, thuggish behavior.

You know, earlier, we were talking about the time that I went up to the Congress to testify. One of the accusers was Bob Bauer, who was the attorney for a woman named Dana Jill Simpson (ph), who alleged that I had encouraged her to investigate -- a woman I've never met in my entire life - - and that I asked her to investigate the sexual shenanigans of Democratic governor Siegelman of Alabama.

And you know, Bob Bauer was an attorney, got her on "60 Minutes." Big hoo-hah about it. And when I -- when I was in -- when I went before the hearing on the -- before the Congress after all this hoo-hah on her, it turned out they considered -- the Democratic staffers told me she was an unreliable witness and they weren't going to call her. And she refused to cooperate with the Justice Department investigation of the charges that she and Governor Siegelman made.

This is the kind of kind of Bob Bauer is. I know what he's doing. It's not going to -- it's not going to change us in one way, shape or form from doing exactly what we're entitled to do under the law, and that is to advocate on behalf of a conservative agenda, which is exactly what GPS will continue to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: So I mean, I must admit I'm surprised by -- I mean, I didn't expect to hear all that. I didn't know about that background. I'm curious. So this is -- I guess so this is personal?

ROVE: No, I...

VAN SUSTEREN: On his part. I mean...


ROVE: On his part. I mean, you know -- I mean, yes, and it's amazing. Literally, when we met with the Justice Department, because she stepped forward and made these accusations and Governor Siegelman stepped forward and made these accusations, the Justice Department's obligated to begin an investigation in an office called the Office of Professional Responsibility.

And we met with their investigators and they asked me about these charges that Bauer's client had tossed up. They were frankly snickering at his client. And they asked me, Do you think -- do you know where we can find her? She's now disappeared. She refused to participate with our investigators because if she participated, she'd have to say what she said under oath. It's one thing to say it on "60 Minutes" and it's another thing to say it under oath because if she made these statements under oath and if Governor Siegelman made these statements under oath and been found to be untruthful, they would have been prosecuted.

And so she disappeared. And I said, Well, why don't you go talk to her lawyer, Bob Bauer, who was then, I believe, at the White House by the time this all happened, as the general counsel to President Obama before leaving again to become his counsel of this campaign.

But look, I mean, you know, this is a way these guys -- it's the Chicago way. You know, go out there, and you know, throw a lot of stuff against the wall. Throw a lot of mud and hope it sticks. But it's not going to work in this instance.

And you know, it didn't work, as well, in the instance of Dana Jill Simpson and Governor Siegelman. The Supreme Court just refused to hear Governor Siegelman's request for a new trial, and he's about ready to go back to the federal penitentiary.

And Dana Jill Simpson, Bob Bauer's client -- God knows where she is. Maybe Bob can help dig her up. Maybe he can find her and have her talk to the Office of Professional Responsibility about the accusations she made on "60 Minutes" and -- and -- and you know, and then disappeared.

VAN SUSTEREN: Karl, thank you. All I can say, never dull. Thank you, Karl.

ROVE: Never dull.

VAN SUSTEREN: Never dull.

ROVE: You bet, Greta.