This Week in Dark Money

A quick look at the week that was in the world of political dark money

the money shot


quote of the week

“We need our side to wake up.”
—Democratic Senate Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil, in an plea to wealthy liberal donors to start giving to super-PACs to narrow the party’s outside-spending gap.


chart of the week

Casino tycoon and former Newt Gingrich super-PAC megadonor Sheldon Adelson gave $10 million to the pro-Mitt Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future this week—the largest disclosed donation in support of Romney to date. Adelson and his wife have contributed $35 million to super-PACs so far, and Sheldon has said that he plans to give at least $100 million to conservative groups . For the billionaire, that’s just a drop in the bucket:


STAT of the week

$367/hour: That’s how much the average House member has to raise to keep her seat. Senators must come up with $819 an hour. Check out our list of Congress’ most and least expensive seats, on an hourly basis.


race of the week

Outside spending dominated the year’s first general election contest, held Tuesday to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) (who stepped down after last year’s assassination attempt). Parties and super-PACs poured more than $2.3 million into the race between tea partier Jesse Kelly and former Giffords staffer Ron Barber (the victor). At least $1.1 million of it was in support of Kelly, including $100,000 from the Citizens United PAC, and nearly $200,000 from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. This recent ad from the House Majority PAC, which spent $458,000 supporting Barber and was the only Democratic super-PAC in the mix, featured a clip of Kelly calling Giffords a “hero of nothing” in 2010, before she was shot:


more mojo dark money coverage

How Dark-Money Groups Sneak By the Taxman: Nonprofits like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS are all about “social welfare,” not partisan politics. Well, at least that’s what they tell the IRS.
Sheldon Adelson’s $10 Million Donation to Romney Super-PAC: Is this just the tip of the Iceberg?
• Tune in: This weekend, MoJo editors-in-chief Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery will appear on Moyers & Company to talk dark money. Check your local listings for times.


more must-reads

• Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod calls for a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United—after meeting with super-PAC donors. New York Times
• Campaign-finance reform advocates hail a decision to let people to donate to campaigns via text message. Center for Responsive Politics
• Corporations are people: A conservative dark-money group lists a corporation as a board member. Republic Report
• 73 million cans of Natty Light—and other stuff Sheldon Adelson could buy with $10 million. Huffington Post

More Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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