“Social welfare” organizations, or “Dark money” groups?
It’s not SuperPACs that are buying our elections, it's so-called “social welfare” organizations. According to IRS law – 501c4 and 501c6 groups – what are known as social welfare organizations or trade associations – are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money in our elections – and not disclose a single donor – just as long as they don’t explicitly call for the election or defeat of a particular politician.
And since the super-rich who are trying to buy Republican politicians would rather stay in the shadows, they’re increasingly using these “dark money” groups rather than SuperPACs – which do have to disclose their donors – to influence our elections.
According to a new report by Demos and the U.S. PIRG – 50% of all outside spending in this presidential race have come from these “dark money” groups. The top 5 “dark money” groups have spent more than $50 million on television ads so far in this election, yet Americans only know where 1% of that money actually came from. For all we know, Chinese business tycoons, Saudi princes, or foreign dictators could be funneling money into our elections to help Republicans win.
This is the insanity that the Supreme Court gave us in its Citizens United decision.