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

“Paul Ryan: Hustling for the 1 percent.”
—Protest signs carried by AFL-CIO members outside a Las Vegas hotel where Romney’s running mate attended a private “finance meeting” with Republican donors, including billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson has poured $36 million into conservative super-PACs and has said he’ll spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Obama. An attendee told the New York Times that he “saw no dialogue between” Ryan and Adelson.

 

attack ad of the week

A new dark-money group called the Special Operations Opsec Education Fund has released a 22-minute Swiftboat-esque video, “Dishonorable Disclosures” that features former special forces officers who accuse Barack Obama of leaking state secrets for political gain. The group is run in part by members of tea party groups and focuses primarily on Obama’s handling of the Osama bin Laden raid. It repeats the claim that Obama has been too boastful about the raid. “Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden,” a sneering former Navy SEAL says in the video. “America did.”

 

stat of the week

Two: The number of 501(c)(4) nonprofits that, combined, have spent more than all super-PACs combined. ProPublica reports that Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Koch-affiliated Americans for Prosperity have spent nearly $60 million on television ads, compared with $55.7 million spent by super-PACs, and $22.5 million spent by political parties.

 

race of the week

On Tuesday, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson won a hard-fought GOP Senate primary. The antitax super-PAC Club for Growth Action spent $1.7 million on ads in support of former Rep. Mark Neumann, who finished third. Including money targeting Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin (like $850,000 from the US Chamber of Commerce), $4.5 million in outside money has been spent on the Wisconsin Senate race. Here’s one of the ads Club for Growth ran against Thompson and challenger Eric Hovde:

 

more mojo dark-money coverage

Can Harold Ickes Make It Rain for Obama?: The Democratic operative has cussed, clawed, and outsmarted his way through three dozen elections. His new fight: Stop Karl Rove and Co. from steamrolling the president.
The Reformers Strike Back!: The conservatives behind Citizens United have lost some key fights lately. But another battle over corporate money in politics looms.
Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Busted for Bogus Ad: Crossroads GPS says it proactively pulled the inaccurate ad. Well, not quite.

 

more must-reads

• Just four states and Washington, DC, are responsible for two-thirds of all super-PAC cash. MapLight
• Charles Koch explains why he “fights for economic freedom.” Newsmax
• Gardener and pro-Obama super-PAC megadonor Amy Goldman talks politics. NPR
• A campaign finance reform group’s infographic puts a superhero spin on super-PACs. Rootstrikers

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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