3/2/2018 by Naomi Karavani
The Democratic Party professes to be the staunch defender of the people and oppose the corporate oligarchs who have been pulling the strings in Washington. But the trail of “dark money” into Democratic election campaigns tells a different story. Money from undisclosed donors was poured into the latest Alabama special election– an historic victory for a Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, whose platform was against “special interests.”
“Dark money” from unknown sources has been pouring into elections ever since Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court decision which allowed for corporations and labor unions to donate unlimited amounts to political candidates, campaigns, and parties. Though disclosing who donated money to whom has been required by law since 1971, super PACs were formed directly after Citizens United. These super PACs operate as temporary political parties who accept unlimited donations and can spend them on unlimited advertising in favor of or in opposition to a particular candidate.
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In the recent election between Roy Moore and Doug Jones, a super PAC named Highway 31 was created in Alabama and presented itself as a homegrown group. However, when Highway 31 disclosed its funding sources after the election, three sources appeared to be other super PACs who are known to receive dark money. One of them, Priorities USA Action, raised $192 million for the Clinton campaign, millions of which came from unknown funders. On January 19th 2018, Highway 13 abruptly ceased to exist.
The Republican party outspends Democrats when it comes to dark money, but the GOP do not claim to be proponents of campaign finance reform like the Dems do. It’s clear that neither party is trying to unrig the system; both are exploiting loopholes at every turn to fill their respective coffers.
Surely all rational human beings are happy that the accused child molestor, Republican Roy Moore, got crushed in the Alabama special election. That being said, it’s still troubling that Democrat Doug Jones’ victory had to come at the expense of the integrity of the election process. As the rate of dark money increases in elections, it’s clear that the rich end up betting on Congress members like horses at the track, and our government will be continue to be owned by the 1%. The effects can easily be seen. Dark money is currently crushing unions at the Supreme Court and financing has been shown to effect a politician’s decision-making.
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