Acton Institute Powerblog

Where Is All That ‘Dark Money’ Coming From?

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Your writer possesses well-meaning friends forever vigilant in my best interests. Most recently, one such kind soul sent an email alerting me to the dangers of so-called “dark money” in the political process. Believing himself on the side of the angels – and fully onside with activist nuns, priests and other religious – my friend sought my assistance in the fight against “evil” corporations participating in the political process.

So I got the following in my inbox. And all I had to do for America’s campaign finance salvation was sign a petition circulated by The Daily Kos and People for the American Way:

Bruce, join Daily Kos and People for the American Way in urging the SEC to require that publicly traded corporations disclose their political spending….

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling was a travesty, which has opened the floodgate to corporate money in our political spending. Repealing it via a constitutional amendment will take years, but there’s something we can do in the meantime that will go a long way.

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) is the federal agency with the job of protecting investors from corporate abuse. It is well within its authority to require that publicly traded corporations disclose their political spending—but it won’t happen without a fight.

End the shroud of secrecy. Join Daily Kos and People For the American Way in urging the SEC to require that publicly traded corporations disclose their political spending.

Keep fighting,
Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos

Note that People for the American Way is a George Soros’ funded nonprofit. In fact, Soros’ Open Society Initiative donated nearly $3.5 million to PFAW – a liberal organization founded by the late television producer Norman Lear (“All in the Family” and “Maude” – between 2005 and 2009. Actor, political activist and credit card shill Alec Baldwin and “Family Guy” creator and Academy Award embarrassment Seth MacFarlane currently sit on PFAW’s board of directors.

As stated here, here and here, corporations that choose to participate in the political process and donate privately – and legally – to groups that advance their interests more resembles a cherished American tradition than it does the ominous-sounding “shroud of secrecy.” As I noted this past summer in a recap of a debate between Brian G. Cartwright, senior adviser, Patomak Global Partners, as advocate for Citizens United, and Bruce F. Freed, president and founder, Center for Political Accountability (another Soros’ funded outfit):

Cartwright began his seven minutes by declaring that ‘a government large enough, pervasive enough and intrusive enough’ makes it necessary for businesses to engage in politics. To live meaningfully and effectively in a republic such as the United States, he said, requires an engagement with government if companies have any hope of protecting or advancing their interests.

Just so. This brings up an interesting point concerning who spent more political “dark money” in 2013. Wrote Tony Lee last week on Breitbart’s “Big Government” website, 70 percent of dark monies spent this year actually flowed out of liberal/progressive bankrolls:

Though Democrats have railed against the influence of money in politics after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, liberals have accounted for 70% of the so-called ‘dark money’ that has been spent this year.

According to Open Secrets, ‘liberal dark money in 2013 makes up 70 percent of all the dark money spent so far. At this point in 2011, liberal money accounted for less than 6 percent of the dark money spent, and in 2009, the total was a little higher, at 6.5 percent.’…

‘Spending by liberal 501(c)(4) groups is already more than $1.7 million so far this cycle,’ Open Secrets writes. ‘That’s an increase of nearly 6700 percent over the $25,458 spent by liberal dark money groups at this point in the 2012 cycle.’

Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who won John Kerry’s Senate seat, has been the biggest beneficiary so far of ‘dark money.’ The League of Conservation Voters reportedly spent ‘more than $800,000 in direct support’ for Markey’s campaign, which was ‘almost twice as much as all dark money groups combined had spent at this point in the 2012 cycle.’

The ‘dark money’ from which Markey has benefited is made more ironic because Markey compared the Citizens United decision to the infamous Dred Scott decision while he was receiving the ‘dark money’ the decision allowed.

Somehow I don’t believe I’d be siding with the angels by hitching my wagon to the ideological likes of Soros, Baldwin, MacFarlane and Markey – nor, for that matter, the religious activists who sympathize with overturning or circumventing Citizens United. These individuals and groups wish only a one-sided debate in the political process.

Inquisitive readers may want to know if I signed the electronic petition. In the interest of full transparency and disclosure, dear audience, I answered my friend simply, “I think not!”

 

Bruce Edward Walker has more than 30 years’ writing and editing experience in a variety of publishing areas, including reference books, newspapers, magazines, media relations and corporate speeches. Much of this material involved research on water rights, land use, alternative-technology vehicles and other environmental issues, but Walker has also written extensively on nonscientific subjects, having produced six titles in Wiley Publishing’s CliffsNotes series, including study guides for "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest." He has also authored more than 100 critical biographies of authors and musicians for Gale Research's Contemporary Literary Criticism and Contemporary Musicians reference-book series. Most recently, he was managing editor of The Heartland Institute's InfoTech & Telecom News. Prior to that, he was manager of communications for the Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network. He also served from 2006-2007 as editor of Michigan Science, a quarterly Mackinac Center publication. Walker has served as an adjunct professor of literature and academic writing at University of Detroit Mercy. For the past three years, he has authored a weekly column for the mid-Michigan Morning Sun newspaper. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University. He is the father of two daughters and currently lives in Midland, Mich., with his wife Katherine.

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