Tuesday, May 6, 2014

'Dark Money' Flooding Into Midterm Elections

Even as the Senate Rules Committee holds hearings on the rising tide of election spending by nondisclosing groups -- 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations -- the 2014 midterm elections are shaping up as a record-breaker for such "dark money" spending. So far in the 2014 midterm cycle, three times more dark money spending has already been reported to the Federal Election Commission than at the same point during the 2012 presidential campaign, reported an analysis by nonpartisan political-spending watchdog OpenSecrets.org at the end of April. The 501(c)(4) groups include Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, while 501(c)(6) groups range from the Chamber of Commerce and American Petroleum Institute to the Koch-network's Freedom Partners. In the 2012 election, these 501(c) organizations, which do not claim politics as their primary purpose and which do not have to disclose donors to the public, spent more than $310 million overall. At this point in the 2012 elections, dark money spending was at an all-time high compared with the same point of any previous election cycle, totaling about $4.4 million -- six times more than spent in the 2010 midterms at the same point. But that's peanuts compared to the tally to date for the 2014 midterms, where dark money is already at $12.3 million. For more of the analysis, go to http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2014/04/how-2014-is-shaping-up-to-be-the-da.html

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