Joe Biden’s Campaign Fueled by Dark Money
Democrats in White House and Congressional races received more than $320 million in anonymous donations this year, reports the Center for Responsive Politics. This total, which includes $132 million towards the Biden/Harris campaign, is more than twice the amount of ‘dark money’ received by Republican candidates.
The term ‘dark money’ refers to any donation that comes from an undisclosed source – including limited liability corporations operating as shell companies. A majority of ‘dark money’ is channeled through politically active nonprofits set up under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. These organizations, unlike super PACs, are not required to disclose the identities of their donors to the FEC; they are free to use their money to influence campaigns as long as they are not directly affiliated with a candidate.
“This is an increasingly common way that these groups are able to add an extra layer of insulation between the ultimate source of funding and the groups that are doing the spending to influence elections,” says Anna Massoglia, a political nonprofit expert at the Center for Responsive Politics.
In the final five weeks of the 2020 presidential race, the super PAC Future Forward spent more than $108 million in anonymous funds in support of the Biden/Harris campaign. This is a major reversal from years past, when Democrats criticized the Republican Party’s acceptance of anonymous donations.
“This is a rotten system, but as long as it exists, both parties are going to use it,” argues Fred Wertheimer, head of the watchdog group Democracy 21. “The test for us is: What are you prepared to do about the system?”
We can expect ‘dark money’ to play a major role in two upcoming Senate races in Georgia – the outcomes of which will determine which party wins control of the chamber. The races feature Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler vs. filmmaker Jon Ossof and Pastor Raphael Warnock, respectively.
If Democrats obtain control of the Senate, we can expect them to approve a measure that would force nonprofits to disclose the identities of their donors. A bill proposing this change was approved by House lawmakers earlier this year, but has stalled in the Senate based on Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) warning that it could be used to harass GOP donors.
Author’s Note: Elections are getting dirtier and dirtier.