Karl Rove and Karen Johnson
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
How should a prominent political figure react when he is being hounded by reports of a bisexual affair with a junior party operative? What if that political figure has built his career, to a considerable extent, on anti-gay rhetoric.
If you are Republican Party guru Karl Rove, you get married for the third time--and you do it in a hurry.
Rove got married recently in Austin, Texas, according to a report last week in Politico. The date of the blessed event is not clear, but it coincides with reports that Rove and National Bloggers Club president Ali A. Akbar share more than a love of conservative political theory.
A source tells Legal Schnauzer that the wedding probably took place shortly before the bisexuality story hit the press. But the source also says Rove knew the Akbar story was coming several days before it broke. According to a report today in The Washington Post's Lifestyle section, Rove refused to disclose any details about the wedding.
Who is Rove's new bride? She is a GOP lobbyist named Karen Johnson, and she played a prominent role in a New Yorker profile of Rove in March 2011.
Ms. Johnson, however, does not seem to be the apple of Rove's eye at the moment. That role, according to press reports, is reserved for casino mogul Steve Wynn. Reports Politico:
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. So Rove — who helped develop Crossroads GPS in 2010, one of a growing roster of non-profit groups that can now accept unlimited contributions for hard-hitting political ads — was a perfect get for Wynn, too. Rove knows all the players — and the groups he works with are skilled at minimizing media attention to their financial whales.
The courting, which took place in direct conversations and through friends and allies of both men, produced big results. Wynn has kicked in millions to Crossroads GPS, according to multiple sources.
The Rove-Wynn relationship even had a side benefit for the new Mrs. Karl Rove:
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.
Wynn joined Rove in Italy? On Rove's honeymoon? That Karl, what a romantic fool.
As for Ali Akbar, he appears to be on the outside looking in at the moment. But our sources say the story of Akbar's liaison with Karl Rove is not likely to go away.