There is an old saying in politics – and coincidentally in crime – “follow the money.” The reason that’s important in both cases is it leads to whose in control. In politics and in crime.

What’s happening today in Republican politics at the national level is both political and a crime. Because, with the support of the U.S. Supreme court, Republican money by the hundreds of millions is being spent outside the party. For the party. By people who have no elected or appointed responsibility to the party or for the outsized control they are exerting over and through it.

Heavily bankrolled uber-lobbyists of the ilk of Karl Rove have formed a loosely knit, completely unofficial arm of the G-O-P – using the G-O-P for cover – to pour truckloads of dollars into political campaigns and ballot initiatives. Hundreds of millions coming from the Koch brothers and others who want to alter political, social and economic foundations of this country. That is their goal! And they’re willing to spend billions to achieve it.

Rove and the others, according to the New York Times and other sources, meet regularly to “share polling and opposition research, preview advertising plans and methods of contacting – and influencing – voters in swing states.” It’s a highly organized, computerized bunch with backers with very, VERY deep pockets.

None of these people – not one – has an office in the Republican Party or any responsibility for accountability to the Republican Party. And, in fact, much of the money they control is no longer going to the Republican Party. Which, given the control money buys, means the Party is weaker and in danger of being less of a player than it has historically been. So far, the G-O-P has been willing to accept this “second citizen” role because the goals and philosophies are pretty much the same. At the moment.

All of this is possible because of your friends and neighbors at the U.S. Supreme Court – that heavily conservative majority that gave us “Citizens United.” According to Justices Roberts, Thomas, Rehnquist, et al, you and General Motors – and Koch Industries – have the same rights of free speech. Therefore, a Koch check for, say $ 3 million, is just as legitimate as yours for $10.00. No difference. No controls. They’re the same “free” speech. The Court says so.

No U.S. Supreme Court ruling since Roe vs Wade has had such a far-reaching impact on all of us. And, because that decision is only a little over a year old, the real impact has not yet been felt. Billionaires got their feet wet in the 2010 elections. But just their feet. They are now ready to dive in right up to their well–shaven chins.

The irony here for those who care about the Republican party is that the national organization is deeply in debt. Candidates at any level, looking for the traditional G-O-P check in the mail, are going to be disappointed this year. And next.

But – and this is where “follow the money” really means something – others may be offering campaigning politicians even larger checks than the national G-O-P has delivered in recent years. And you know – you just know – those checks will come with pretty big strings attached. Probably larger, more ideologically connected and more rightward-leaning than usual. Mr. Rove has already promised that. Rove’s set a goal for his “American Crossroads” group of raising $240 million for the 2012 elections. And the Koch’s “Americans For Prosperity” is planning to match that.

The national G-O-P is losing in another meaningful way. Many of the top, most experienced staffers are leaving for fatter paychecks and more freedom. Brian Walsh, formerly G-O-P national political director, quit and is now shepherding “Congressional Leadership Fund” and “American Action Network,” two of the front organizations with no recognized membership other than a handful of fat cats.

In a move that may come back to haunt Republican Party decision makers, for the first time ever – the very first – they are making it’s voter list available to these shell game players. A former chief of the RNC has resigned for a big pay raise and has set up Data Trust, an expensive-to-maintain, computer-driven data base, using that membership list.

Are all the traditional G-O-P hierarchy happy with this? Not on your old elephant campaign button! Some see the original Party becoming “Republican Light” as more traditional Party apparatus and staff are being moved out or dismantled. But they can’t stop it. The money’s too big.

So what seems to be happening, thanks to a boneheaded – and more partisan than normal – Supreme Court decision, is we are being introduced to “Republican Party A” and “Republican Party B.” The establishment of a large and well-funded third political party. Currently inside a Trojan horse. But for how long?

Will this symbiotic relationship always be? My guess is, it will not. Somewhere down the political road – on some issue that may not even be in play yet – there’s likely to be a separation of goals or opinions. Then you’ll see a wrestling match featuring the Koch’s and their billionaire buddies to control whatever the shape of the Party is or may be at that time. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, the outcome will be anybody’s guess.

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