Dark Money Floods 2024 Election, OpenSecrets Report Shows

OpenSecrets, a research group focused on government transparency, revealed a significant surge of “dark money” from undisclosed sources flooding the 2024 election cycle. Here’s the full story.

Dark Money Surge

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OpenSecrets report details how this “dark money,” funds from anonymous sources often laundered through shell companies or private organizations, has surged in the run-up to the 2024 election at a pace that far exceeds any previous election cycle. 

2024 Election Battlefield

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This election, which pundits assume will be a fight between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, has already seen its fair share of controversy, and this report will add another notch to that post.

Controversial Contributions

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In 2023, these shadowy entities injected over $162 million into political groups such as super PACs, surpassing previous levels of clandestine contributions. 

Citizens United Fallout

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OpenSecrets has been tracking dark money since the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision (which allowed corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they would like during elections) and has witnessed almost $3 billion reported to the FEC in total.

Shell Companies Conceal True Donors

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Although by law, the FEC requires campaign donors to be disclosed, using these shell companies allows the true origins of this funding to be hidden. 

Unprecedented Figures

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During the 2022 midterms, over $600 million was donated from undisclosed donors – a record amount for a midterm election. 

Record-Breaking Influx

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However, that number is dwarfed by the amount of money flooding in for the 2024 election, which has broken records – indicating that almost $700 million has been donated so far.

Democrats Lead in Dark Money Contributions

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Democrats are benefitting the most from this influx of cash. Super PACs and other organizations supporting Biden’s administration have reported around $85 million in dark money contributions, while Republicans have reported $74 million.

This is a trend, as in the last four election cycles, Democrats outpaced Republican funding.

A Veil of Secrecy in Political Spending

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That’s not to say there’s not more money coming in – much of this dark money is not being disclosed to the FEC. 

501(c) Nonprofits, AKA Dark Money Groups

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501(c) Nonprofits (often called dark money groups) do not have to disclose their donors, so a lot of money is being funded to politically active nonprofits, which is then being put into TV or radio advertising that only requires an FEC disclosure in the weeks before an election.

Millions Spent Under the Radar

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If the money is used for online advertising that does not mention an election outcome, nonprofits don’t have to disclose a word. 

American Action Network

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OpenSecrets analyzed spending from the 501(c) nonprofit American Action Network and estimated that the group has spent almost $11 million on advertising and has disclosed none of it to the FEC.

This group has also given almost $12 million to a Republican super PAC.

A Key Player in GOP Dark Money Circles

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Another group, “One Nation,” tied to Senate GOP leadership, made significant contributions totaling nearly $5.2 million in 2023. It was a major contributor in previous cycles, including directing funds to the Senate Leadership Fund.

Future Forward USA Action

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Several groups supporting Biden in the presidential race are also prominent dark money brokers.

“Future Forward USA Action” has directed millions in dark money to a super PAC led by former Biden aides. 

FEC Loopholes

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While their ad spending is substantial, it doesn’t explicitly advocate for Biden’s reelection, allowing them to avoid FEC disclosure requirements.

Driving Democratic Agenda with Dark Funds

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Majority Forward, a dark money group linked to Senate Democrats, raised over $18.7 million in contributions to political committees in the early stages of the 2024 cycle.

Around $16 million of this money was sent to a key Democrat super PAC, “Senate Majority PAC,” in 2023.

Last Best Place PAC

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Majority Forward has also been the main source of funding for “Last Best Place PAC,” a new super PAC targeting a Senate race.

However, the group has yet to report its ad spending to the FEC, which has led to complaints being filed.

Aiding House Democrats in Swing Districts

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House Majority Forward, its counterpart that is aligned with House Democrats, contributed over $8 million to House Majority PAC and spent millions on ads targeting swing district Republicans.

Shaping the Narrative

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OpenSecrets report highlights how these groups are playing a pivotal role in shaping the narrative and outcome of the upcoming elections through their substantial financial support, although it does not offer a solution. 

Tackling the Issue of Dark Money

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This is an issue that will have to be tackled from the top down.

The post Dark Money Floods 2024 Election, OpenSecrets Report Shows first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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