One Nation

One Nation is a 501(c)(4) dark money group “masterminded” by Republican strategist Karl Rove as part of his network of conservative advocacy and fundraising groups.

About One Nation

Founded in 2010 by Bush administration staffers and taken over by Rove and his associates in 2015, One Nation has become an increasingly important player in the right-wing’s congressional fundraising ecosystem.

One Nation is a 501(c)(4) dark money groupmasterminded” by Republican strategist Karl Rove as part of his network of conservative advocacy and fundraising groups. The group ramped up its spending for the 2020 election and became one of the top outside spenders, injecting nearly $200 million into ad campaigns and the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund. 

  • The organization’s leadership and financial reports show deep ties to Republican operative Karl Rove’s network. One Nation treasurer Caleb Crosby also serves as treasurer of two other groups that Karl Rove founded, American Crossroads, and Crossroads GPS. Steven Law, president and CEO of One Nation, has also held leadership roles with those same Rove-affiliated groups. Additionally, One Nation’s board is almost identical to the boards of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.
  • The dark money group is one of the biggest funders of Senate Republicans’ main super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, which operates out of the same office and shares employees with One Nation. Caleb Crosby is also the treasurer of the Senate Leadership Fund and the Congressional Leadership Fund, and Steven Law also serves as president of the Senate Leadership Fund. Of the $200 million One Nation spent in 2020, $77 million went to the SLF, which ended up spending more than $475 million helping Republican Senate candidates. FEC filings show that One Nation sent SLF over $39 million in 2022 and $14 million in 2021.
  • One Nation has also used its resources to advance right-wing ideologies through anti-abortion advocacy groups and fearmongering reports about “critical race theory.” The organization has given considerable sums to anti-abortion groups, giving $1.9 million to the Susan B. Anthony List and $500,000 to the National Right to Life between 2016 and 2019. In 2022, One Nation joined the right-wing movement’s demonizing of anti-racism efforts in schools by publishing an incendiary report about some COVID-19 relief funds being used to make learning more equitable.

Steven Law, President/CEO

One Nation president and CEO Steven Law has held numerous leadership roles in the conservative fundraising and advocacy sphere. He previously served as Sen. Mitch McConnell’s chief of staff and is the current president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC aligned with McConnell. In addition to One Nation, Law has served as president of two other Karl Rove-affiliated groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.

In 2020, Law’s salary at One Nation was over $568,000.

Caleb Crosby, Secretary/Treasurer

One Nation secretary and treasurer Caleb Crosby is a Republican dark money operative and “former Karl Rove deputy.” Crosby served as a campaign aide to former Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and was a “veteran of the George W. Bush administration.” As of November 2022, Crosby is a principal officer for six active entities, including One Nation. 

Crosby serves as the treasurer of:

  • Americans for Public Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization that uses legal channels and government agencies to target Democrats with ethics complaints – the vast majority of which are dismissed due to a lack of findings.
  • American Crossroads, a pro-Trump super PAC established by Karl Rove. The group spent over $79 million on federal elections in 2020.

Crosby also runs The Crosby Ottenhoff Group political consulting firm with fellow Republican operative Benjamin Ottenhoff. According to FEC filings, the company is a popular choice among Republican candidates, raking in over $3.1 million from federal candidates and committees since 2020. In 2021, One Nation paid the Crosby Ottenhoff Group $105,000.

  • The Crosby Ottenhoff Group was active in Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial race between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. According to campaign finance watchdog Transparency USA, Youngkin’s campaign paid The Crosby Ottenhoff Group over $77,000 for consulting services. 

Crosby is the president of the libertarian think tank, the Alabama Policy Institute, which advocates for limited government and anti-regulatory policies. API opposes same-sex marriage, claiming that the anti-discrimination policy will lead to the “unraveling of traditional marriage” and represents “liberalizing social conventions.”

Bobby Burchfield, Board member

One Nation board member Bobby Burchfield is a long-time attorney who has spent his career representing conservative interests. In addition to his role at One Nation, Burchfield has served as board chair of another Rove group, Crossroads GPS.

  • Burchfield served as general counsel for President George H.W. Bush’s re-election campaign and was later appointed by Bush to the Antitrust Modernization Commission. Burchfield also represented George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount.
  • Burchfield represented the Republican National Committee in 2016 as the organization was accused of engaging in efforts to intimidate minority voters at polling places. The Democratic National Committee sought an injunction against the RNC after then-candidate Donald Trump told supporters in Pennsylvania to watch polling places in “certain areas” so the election would not be “stolen” by Democrats.
  • In 2017, President Trump tapped Burchfield to serve as an independent ethics advisor to the trust holding the president’s business assets. The appointment drew criticism from watchdog groups who said that Burchfield’s deep history with the Republican Party was a conflict of interest in itself.

In 2003, Burchfield represented Sen. Mitch McConnell in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, in which McConnell and conservative groups challenged the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act passed the previous year. 

  • The act was created to curb the influence of big money in politics by, among other provisions, banning unrestricted “soft money” contributions to political parties and instituting regulations for electioneering communications before an election.
  • Burchfield represented McConnell and other plaintiffs as they tried to overturn key provisions in the bill that they claimed violated free speech. The plaintiffs used this same argument over the First Amendment in Citizens United as they successfully fought against campaign finance disclosure requirements.
  • The Supreme Court upheld the act’s provisions on “soft money” and electioneering and struck down portions of the legislation banning contributions from minors and certain restrictions on party expenditures.
  • McConnell v. FEC was partially overruled in 2010 by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision when the court overturned the ban on corporations from making electioneering communications. This ruling opened the floodgates for wealthy donors and special interests to spend unlimited amounts of untraceable money to influence elections.

Burchfield also delivered oral arguments on behalf of Mitch McConnell in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission in 2014. The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling struck down the aggregate limits on the amount an individual can contribute to federal candidates, parties, and PACs during a two-year period. The court ruled 5-4 that the limits are unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

Sally Vastola, Board member

One Nation board member Sally Vastola is one of the GOP’s “revolving door personnel,” having served in high-level positions for Republican members of Congress and lobbying firms. Vastola has also served on the board of Crossroads GPS.

Ken Cole, Board member

Former Pfizer lobbyist Ken Cole was added to One Nation’s board in 2019. Cole has also served on the Chamber of Commerce board since at least 2015. The Intercept pointed out that Pfizer and the Chamber of Commerce have both “lobbied against bills that would lower drug prices.”

Jennifer Fay, Chief Operating Officer

One Nation chief operating officer Jennifer Fay has also served as the COO of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS since 2011. Fay is a former lobbyist and congressional staffer.

Ian Prior, Spokesperson

Conservative operative and public affairs specialist Ian Prior is the spokesperson for One Nation. Prior has also served as the spokesperson for other Karl Rove-linked groups, including American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, and the Senate Leadership Fund

  • Prior joined America First Legal as a Senior Advisor in February 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile.
  • Prior previously worked for Mercury Public Affairs, Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

One Nation was originally registered as a 501(c)(4) in 2010 as Alliance for America’s Future, a group founded by political consultants Kara Ahern and Barry Bennett. Bennett later became a senior adviser to Donald Trump. At the time it was founded, Alliance for America’s Future was linked to Dick Cheney through his wife, Mary Cheney, who served as AAF’s secretary and treasurer.

Republican strategist Karl Rove took over the organization in 2015 and rebranded it as One Nation.

  • In 2010, the same year that Alliance for America’s Future applied for tax-exempt status from the IRS, Karl Rove applied for 501(c)(4) status for his group Crossroads GPS.
  • Legal and campaign finance experts speculate that Rove and his associates decided to take control of AAF because it had already received tax-exempt status, and at the time, it was unclear when, or if, Crossroads GPS would receive exemption.


When it was founded in 2015, One Nation’s sole mission was to support Republican Senate candidates in the 2016 elections, when the GOP had to “defend twice as many seats as Democrats.” 

  • Rove’s other funding vehicles, Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads, focused on influencing the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
  • Within months of its founding, One Nation had already spent $2 million on radio, digital, and print ads praising incumbent Republican senators who were in danger of losing to Democratic candidates. One Nation ran ads in support of Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Richard Burr (R-NC), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). 

In October 2016, CREW alleged that One Nation was abusing a loophole in FEC rules that allows organizations to skirt around the reporting requirements for internet political ads. 

  • After the “electioneering communications” window opened in September, One Nation and other nonprofits were required to report expenditures on all television ads within 24 hours of airing them.
  • However, that FEC rule did not apply to the internet ads One Nation was posting on YouTube. As CREW reported, “thanks to this internet loophole, One Nation could spend six-or-seven figures to place the ads before YouTube clips watched by voters in target states, and the FEC would never know about it.”
  • Additionally, because One Nation did not have to report YouTube ad expenditures as election expenses, the organization was able to skirt around IRS rules dictating that nonprofits must “spend less than half of their budgets on elections in order to retain the tax-exempt status that allows them to keep their donors secret.” One Nation reported on its 2016 tax filing that it spent $25 million on political activities — approximately 40% of its $63 million total expenses.


One Nation focused on U.S. Senate races during the 2018 midterms, raising $17 million in 2017 and $58 million in 2018 to fund these efforts. Of the $64.1 million the group spent in 2018, $3.8 million of that went to other right-wing groups.

In 2018, One Nation gave $18.6 million to the Senate Leadership Fund, which ended up spending $95 million boosting Senate Republicans throughout the 2018 cycle.

One Nation’s other 2018 donations included a $250,000 grant to Citizens for a Working America, a “little-known dark money group” that “[bankrolled] several groups that launched multimillion-dollar ad campaigns in federal and state elections,” and $1 million to the dark money group American Economic Freedom Alliance.

One Nation also donated $500,000 to the National Rifle Association in 2017.


One Nation’s spending activity exploded in 2020 when it raised $172 million and spent a staggering $195 million — a drastic increase from its 2019 expenses, which totaled $20 million. The organization’s funding spree was supported by several eight-figure contributions from anonymous donors, including a $33 million contribution. 

  • Of the nearly $200 million One Nation spent in 2020, $77 million went to the Senate Leadership Fund. Together, these groups spent tons of millions of dollars on ads opposing Democrats running for the Senate. One Nation reportedly sponsored an estimated $40 million worth of TV ads in 2020.

The group also spent more than $97 million on issue advocacy campaigns. Of that total, $79.6 million was paid to two media firms also employed by the Senate Leadership Fund: Main Street Media Group and Mentzer Media Services. Additionally, One Nation gave large grants to several right-wing nonprofits in 2020, including Unite for Colorado, the American Exceptionalism Institute, and Crossroads GPS.


One Nation continued to amplify its spending in the 2022 election cycle, with particular attention on the U.S. Senate races in battleground states such as New Hampshire, Arizona, Nevada, West Virginia, Montana, and Georgia. According to FEC reports, One Nation gave a total of $53 million to the SLF between December 2021 and September 2022, which the group could then use on its own attack ads. 

  • In the Nevada senate race, One Nation and the SLF each spent millions of dollars on ads opposing Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. The SLF alone spent over $25.5 million on ads and outreach in the 2022 cycle, a jump from the $16.8 million it spent against Cortez Mastro in 2016.

Many of the ads One Nation aired in 2021 focused on Democratic senators’ support of the For the People Act, which would have made major expansions to voting rights. One Nation characterized the historic bill as “partisan power grab legislation.”

The group also led campaigns on energy issues, including several ads targeted at Wisconsin residents above age 35 that encouraged citizens to tell Republican Senator Ron Johnson to fight for the completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

As in previous elections, One Nation took advantage of the FEC’s internet ads loophole in the weeks leading up to the 2022 general election. After the “electioneering communications” window opened on September 8th, One Nation spent $3.86 million on 161 Google ad placements in the weeks leading up to November 8th, Additionally, New York University’s Ad Observatory reported that One Nation spent an additional $629,000 to run ads on platforms owned by Meta. Under current law, One Nation was not required to report spending on any of these ads to the FEC.

One Nation did not give out any grants to other organizations in 2021, except for one payment to its affiliated group Crossroads GPS, which received $900,000. 

Issue Areas

“Critical Race Theory”

While One Nation’s public activities primarily focus on targeting Democratic senators, the group has also joined the right-wing campaign against “critical race theory.” Conservative groups have increasingly used a manufactured panic about CRT to incite fear and anger towards Democrats over schools’ efforts to increase equity and educate students about social issues like racism.

  • In July 2022, One Nation released a report claiming that 12 states governed by Democrats were using billions of dollars of funds from the American Rescue Plan to push “CRT-based” and “Marxist” curricula into schools.
  • The report condemns President Biden’s Department of Education for encouraging state and local education leaders to consider how systemic racism and xenophobia affect students’ ability to learn in the classroom as they plan to reopen schools. One Nation’s report put phrases like “xenophobia and racist harassment” and “anti-racism” in quotes, implying that these issues are not to be taken seriously.
  • The report also criticizes state education departments for consulting with organizations like the Racial Justice Institute and the National Equity Project. One Nation lambasted the latter group for supporting educators in their efforts to “abolish unjust systems and catalyze positive change.’”  
  • One Nation concluded its report by stating that educators’ efforts to address inequalities in learning should instead be characterized as Biden and Democrats pushing an “ideological agenda in schools.” 


One Nation has given several million dollars to anti-abortion groups pushing for more restrictive abortion laws – including $1.9 million to the Susan B. Anthony List and $500,000 to the National Right to Life between 2016 and 2019. The Susan B. Anthony List ramped up its activity at the federal level during the 2018 midterms, spending $2.4 million to back congressional Republicans. In 2016, the Susan B. Anthony List and the National Right to Life were the only two groups that received grants from One Nation.

Senate Leadership Fund

One Nation has close ties to congressional Republicans’ main super PACs – the Senate Leadership Fund and the Congressional Leadership Fund. SLF is aligned with Sen. Mitch McConnell, while CLF is “closely affiliated” with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.

  • One Nation treasurer Caleb Crosby serves as treasurer for the Senate Leadership Fund and treasurer for the Congressional Leadership Fund.
  • One Nation president and CEO Steven Law serves as president of the Senate Leadership Fund.
  • One Nation’s spokesperson, Ian Prior, is also the spokesperson for the SLF.

Of the nearly $200 million One Nation spent in 2020, $77 million went to the Senate Leadership Fund. That same year, the SLF paid One Nation $2.1 million. In 2021, One Nation paid the SLF $14.4 million.

Karl Rove And Rove-Affiliated Groups

One Nation exists in an interlocking web of dark money groups and media companies tied to long-time Republican strategist, Karl Rove. Operating under Rove’s “Crossroads” brand, these organizations shuffle funds within the network to advance Republican candidates and their far-right agenda.

Rove helped create several groups under the “Crossroads” umbrella, including a 527 advocacy group called American Crossroads, a 501(c)(4) called Crossroads GPS, and the conservative media group Crossroads Media. In addition to these “Crossroads” groups, One Nation is closely tied to the popular conservative media services firm, Main Street Media Group.

American Crossroads is a deep-pocketed super PAC founded in 2010 by Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie, both of whom served in the Bush administration. 

  • American Crossroads was one of the nation’s first super PACs. Gillespie and Rove founded the organization just two weeks after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling — the game-changing decision that opened the floodgates for wealthy donors and special interests to spend unlimited amounts of untraceable money to influence elections.

Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies — commonly referred to as Crossroads GPS — is a 501(c)(4) spinoff of the 527 organization American Crossroads. 

  • One Nation sent Crossroads GPS $900,000 in 2021, $590,000 in 2020, $400,000 in 2019, and $450,000 in 2018

The leadership and staff of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS are almost identical to One Nation’s. 

  • One Nation board members Bobby Burchfield, Sally Vastola, and Ken Cole also serve on the board of Crossroads GPS, with Burchfield serving as board chair.
  • Steven Law, One Nation’s president and CEO, holds the same titles at American Crossroads. Law is also the president of Crossroads GPS.
  • One Nation secretary and treasurer Caleb Crosby holds the same titles at Crossroads GPS.
  • One Nation’s COO, Jennifer Fay, is also the COO at Crossroads GPS.
  • One Nation’s spokesperson, Ian Prior, is also the spokesperson for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.

Main Street Media Group

One Nation’s primary media services vendor is Main Street Media Group, a Virginia-based firm founded by former Trump administration communications aide, Mike Dubke. In 2001, Dubke founded MSMG and two other conservative media services companies, Crossroads Media and Herd Media, with MSMG becoming “one of the go-to firms on the national scene for both political candidates and corporations.” One Nation paid Main Street Media Group $12.5 million in 2021, $57.3 million in 2020, $6.6 million in 2019, $28.5 million in 2018, and $1.7 million in 2017.

  • Main Street Media Group is a popular media services firm within conservative circles. According to MSMG president Patti Heck’s biography from August 2020, “Main Street Media Group has executed more than a billion dollars of media buys at the National, State and Local levels in all media markets across the country.”

Main Street Media Group handles ad purchases for Crossroads Media, another media firm tied to Karl Rove that “lies at the center of a web of powerful conservative media firms and political committees.” 

  • According to the Huffington Post, Main Street Media Group has also made ad buys for nonprofits that received funding from Crossroads GPS, including Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for Individual Freedom, and the National Federation of Independent Business.

One of Main Street Media Group’s top clients is American Crossroads, which paid MSMG over $70 million in the 2020 election cycle and $5.9 million in the 2022 midterm cycle. Additionally, the Senate Leadership Fund paid MSMG $125 million and $158 million in the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, respectively. 

Additionally, Main Street Media Group is tied to Rove’s Crossroads network through its staff.

  • Another MSMG employee who has worked there for 10 years has also been employed by Crossroads Media for 11 years.

Holtzman Vogel

One Nation’s primary legal services contractor is the law firm Holtzman Vogel Baran Josefiak Torchinsky. Holtzman Vogel is a boutique law firm that represents “some of the nation’s largest super PACs and their related nonprofits” on the conservative side, including American Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity, the Honest Elections Project, the BH Fund, the Freedom and Opportunity Fund, and American Engaged. With the influx of money in politics following the 2010 Citizens United decision, Holtzman Vogel “became one of the premier legal shops to help the PACs distribute their largesse.”

One Nation most recently paid the firm $460,000 in 2021. In 2019, the group paid Holtzman Vogel $490,000.

As a 501(c)(4) organization, One Nation is not required to disclose its donors and is allowed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from anonymous funding sources. There is little information available about One Nation’s donors, but reporting and publicly available documents give insight into some of its supporters.

  • The Guardian reported that the late billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson was said to have given $10 million to One Nation in 2016. In 2012, Adelson and his wife Miriam gave $23 million to American Crossroads, another Rove group.
  • According to CREW, One Nation received $1 million in both 2016 and 2017 from Andeavor, one of the country’s largest oil refiners.
  • Oil and gas industry group the American Petroleum Institute has also given One Nation considerable sums, with the group receiving $50,000 in 2018 and $1 million in 2019.
  • Additional donors like Southern Company and Aflac have voluntarily disclosed their 2020 grants to One Nation, but the majority of the group’s financial backers are unknown.

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