Ever since the Citizens v. United case was decided the flow of money into politics has only increased. Liberals decried this decision as unfair and a blow to democracy as it allowed unchecked conservative money and corporate money to try and skew elections.
But my how times have changed. The flow of this so-called “Dark Money” is still growing but the sources now favor liberals. How many times have we heard some liberal denounce the Koch brothers as people who were using the money to buy elections? Turns out they are mere pikers in this money game. They are not even among the top three in spending Dark Money and the amount they spent pales when compared to the real big boy on the block, Majority Forward.
Who is Majority Forward? They are a Super PAC aligned with the Democratic party and the collusion between the two is amazing. In the 2018 campaign, the Center for Public Integrity disclosed that the Senate Majority PAC (official PAC) received more than $300,000 in funding for staff, office space and expenses. They share the same mailing address and were incorporated by the Marc Elias who also represents the Senate Majority PAC. The Center for Public Integrity also disclosed that the Senate Majority PAC also got over $500,000 from another “Dark Money” organization, Patriot Majority.
Why is this important? Both of these groups are 501(c)(4) organizations that as defined by the IRS are:
- Social welfare organizations: Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, and
- Local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person(s) in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational or recreational purposes.
It is for this reason that groups are given this tax status and they are not required to disclose a list of their donors. Groups that are 501(c)(4) are given some leeway in promoting social welfare. They are permitted to lobby on specific issues that they feel will promote public benefit however they are not permitted engage in activity that would “include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office”. That quote is from the IRS.
I want to be clear. I am not suggesting that liberals are the only ones stretching the rules on this type of activity. I am sure that conservatives are as well and until the 2018 elections, conservative organizations were pumping more money into politics than liberals. But that all changed in the past election. The liberals caught up and passed the conservatives with the use of Dark Money in politics.
What I am pointing out is that when you hear some liberal decry some conservative about using money in politics know that they are either ignorant of the real facts or they are just ignoring the use of these tactics by liberals. Both sides are doing everything they can to win elections and that means stretching the law.