NBC News / Center for Public Integrity: What is political 'dark money' — and is it bad?
Campaign finance reform activists argue that voters should know who is funding political advertisements. Such information, they assert, is essential to voters’ ability to evaluate the merits of political messages — and to know if certain special interests may be trying to curry favor with politicians. Fred Wertheimer, the founder and president of Democracy 21, for one, has said that “history makes clear that unlimited contributions and secret money are a formula for corruption.” Likewise, the Campaign Legal Center has called the emergence of dark money a “serious threat to our democracy.” In a portion of the controversial Citizens United decision, eight of the nine Supreme Court justices agreed that disclosure of money in politics was important because “transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.”
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