The growing prevalence of dark money


This cycle alone, secret-money political groups that don’t disclose donors spent at least $98 million  and that’s only what was reported to the FEC so far — according to data from Anna Massoglia, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics. So-called dark money groups will cross the $1 billion threshold for spending during the 2020 cycle, said Michael Beckel, the manager of research, investigations and policy analysis at Issue One. 

Advocates for transparency in political spending place the blame for the spread of dark money squarely on the FEC. “All you need is action by the Federal Election Commission,” said Adav Noti, a senior director at the Campaign Legal Center. “The bad news there is you need action by the Federal Election Commission. … The FEC isn’t going to fix it. The question then is who is?”

Advocates have proposed several different routes for changing dark money spending and disclosure — through the courts, agency action or Congress, where the new Democratic House majority wants to make campaign finance legislation a priority.

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