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 openly acknowledge the irony of being a super PAC trying to address money in politics.”
—Jonathan Soros, son of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, explaining his new anti-super-PAC super-PAC, Friends of Democracy. His super-PAC joins several others formed to protest the amount of money in American politics. (The Open Society Foundations, chaired by George Soros, have supported Mother Jones’ campaign-finance reporting.)

 

VIDEO of the week

The Center for Public Integrity’s Michael Beckel hits the streets of DC to ask citizens what they think of super-PACs. Most were not fans (one man suggested they be “blown up”):

 

STAT of the week

$200,000: The amount that LPAC, a new, first-of-its-kind lesbian and women’s-rights super-PAC, reports that it raised on its first day. The group hopes to raise a modest $1 million. It’s headed by Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, a major bundler for President Obama. Her dad, Joe Ricketts, is also a Cubs co-owner and has his own super-PAC, the anti-Obama Ending Spending Fund.

 

attack ad of the week

A conservative dark-money group called American Commitment is using some of the $7 million it’s raised to attack Democrats in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Nevada. (Last month, the group spent $1 million on ads opposing EPA regulations.) American Commitment was started by Phil Kerpen, who has also worked for the Koch brothers-connected Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth. In Ohio, the group has spent $1.2 million on ads attacking Sen. Sherrod Brown. This one accuses Brown of being “the deciding vote” in favor of Obamacare:

 

more mother jones dark money coverage

Karl Rove & Company’s New “Sucker-Punch” Ad Strategy: How outside-spending groups sidestep federal election law to obscure their ad spending.
Shadowy Group Pushing for Tax Chaos in Michigan: The Michigan Alliance for Prosperity is trying to fundamentally alter the state’s political calculus.
Dems: Dark Money Groups Use “Secret Money to Subvert the Democratic Process”: A new complaint targets political nonprofits that attack Democrats and hide their donors.
Mother Jones reporter Andy Kroll discusses 501(c)(4) groups on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm

 

more must-reads

• Casino magnate and megadonor Sheldon Adelson gives another $1 million to a super-PAC. Sunlight Foundation
• Ross Perot’s son gives $100,000 to the pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future. iWatch News
• Jamelle Bouie questions whether out-of-control fundraising will really have much of an impact on the presidential race. American Prospect

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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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