'Dark money' spending in politics set to clear $1 billion threshold

Herndon Gazette

So-called dark money, which came into being after a Supreme Court ruling, soon may reach a ten-digit milestone.

That term refers to election-related spending by groups that don’t disclose their donors. This type of political outlay remains far from becoming dominant, but it keeps spooking researchers, lawmakers and activists, as it nears a big round number.


After the Supreme Court opened the door for corporate spending in elections, the FEC said existing disclosure laws weren’t a good fit for this new category of outlays, said Adav Noti, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, an ethics and campaign-finance watchdog. The regulatory agency then created a new disclosure rule that was “extremely narrow” and led to dark money’s rise, he said.

“Although it gets conflated with Citizens United pretty frequently, it’s not a creation of the Supreme Court,” Noti said at the Nov. 14 event. “Dark money is a creation of the FEC.”

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