Unprecedented Influx of ‘Dark Money’ Rolling in to Democrats Ahead of Biden’s Election

The upcoming 2024 crucial elections are observing an unprecedented influx of anonymous funding within political spheres, as cited by a recent study from OpenSecrets. The undisclosed financial sources, also known as ‘dark money’, have already funneled approximately $160 million to various political groups in 2023. This amount signals the peak contribution at this stage in any electoral cycle since the renowned verdict of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission unleashed limitless spending capabilities in political messaging.

Groups aligned with Democratic interests have a lion’s share in the funding, amassing around $84.5 million from these concealed sources. In contrast, Republican-affiliated committees managed to garner a slightly lesser amount, pegged at over $74 million. These findings, detailed by OpenSecrets, provide an intriguing landscape of funding in present-day political circles.

The report systematized the political bodies, defining Democrat-aligned organizations as those focusing on Republican criticism or Democrat endorsement and vice versa for the Republican-affiliated groups. An additional classification titled ‘other’, included factions that didn’t adhere to these distinct classifications, accounted for an approximate $2.4 million in political spending.

An interesting pattern emerged, indicating Democratic groups enjoying a consistent winning streak of dark money support since 2018, as documented by Open Secrets. The funding flow from these undisclosed sources seems undeterred by fluctuating political climates or shifting power bases.

Existing Federal regulations mandate that super PACs publicly disclose their benefactors in recurring reports. However, these stipulations do not extend to social welfare organizations, or 501(c)(4) nonprofits, according to the legal interpretation by law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

The said nonprofits, designated under the 501(c)(4) statute, possess the capacity to bestow funds upon political groups. Such arrangements facilitate the introduction of virtually untraceable finances into politics. Even international financiers behind social welfare organizations can exploit this setup to contribute to political committees.

Beyond their role as silent benefactors, some nonprofits under the 501(c)(4) category also actively engage in political arenas. Among them is Defending Democracy Together (DDT), occupying the spotlight with a substantial $2 million expenditure to positively influence political prospects of Nikki Haley and counter those of former President Donald Trump.

The now withdrawn Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s campaign was significantly buttressed by DDT. Regrettably, the substantial disbursement didn’t correspond to Haley’s political aspirations. DDT, co-founded by Bill Kristol, an erstwhile Republican and prominent Trump skeptic, is supported by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a body with strong Democratic leanings.

Another noteworthy player in the funding scene is Americans for Prosperity Action, backed by the well-known Koch family. The committee secured a whopping $25 million from veiled contributions in 2023, standing as the top beneficiary of the cycle. OpenSecrets reveals that the organization notably utilized its funding to support Haley’s short-lived presidential campaign, splurging over $31.2 million in the process.

The Senate Majority PAC, demonstrating strong ties with Democrats, logged dark money inflows exceeding $16.7 million. Inaugurated in 2011, its primary objective is to secure Senate seats in favor of the Democrats. As per the data from OpenSecrets, this makes them the committee with the most anonymous funding correlating with the Democrats.

On the other side of the aisle, the Senate Leadership Fund, mirror counterpart and rival to the Senate Majority PAC, secured a considerably smaller $6.2 million in undisclosed contributions. It leads us to ponder the discrepancies in financial backing between the two committees, despite serving similar objectives for opposing parties.

Committees with more targeted objectives were not left out of the dark money gravy train. The LCV Victory Fund, an environmentalist organization, reported almost $13 million in such funds. Each representing different focal points, their influxes of anonymous funds signal a broad range of interests shaping the political dialogue.

Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, a group advocating for stricter gun control measures, secured over $8.5 million in undisclosed contributions. This organization boasts financing mainly from former New York City Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, suggestive of the extensive financial backing certain political causes can attract.

Several major recipients of dark money, including Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, Senate Leadership Fund, Senate Majority PAC, and Americans for Prosperity Action, have been approached for comment. Likewise, the LCV Victory Fund, a key player in environmentalist advocacy, was also contacted.

However, neither of these organizations have responded to these queries. These entities carrying significant political influence retain their silence, leaving the public pondering the overall implications of these vast, unnamed sums of money on the democratic process.

Ultimately, it is clear that a myriad of factors are at play in the ever-volatile landscape of political contributions for the upcoming 2024 elections. With dark money playing an increasingly prominent role in our elections, the public and transparency advocates alike await further clarity through enhanced disclosure or regulation.

Real News Now

Unprecedented Influx of ‘Dark Money’ Rolling in to Democrats Ahead of Biden’s Election appeared first on Real News Now.

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