Dark Money Made Up nearly 1/3 of Trackable Spending, Hundreds of Mill More Undisclosed

Washington Post: “Dark money — money spent by independent groups that are not required to disclose their donors — made up 31 percent of all independent group spending in the 2014 midterm elections.

“However, this is only the dark money we are able to track. An estimated hundreds of millions of dollars more spent by nonprofit groups this election was not been publicly disclosed because it was spent by tax-exempt advocacy groups and trade associations that do not have politics as their primary purpose.

“That money, much of which went to so-called “issue ads” and field efforts, did not have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission because the groups did not explicitly call for the election or defeat of a candidate.”

Meet the Democrats’ Dark Money Networks

Slate: At the forefront is the nonprofit Patriot Majority USA, which is providing Democrats with a countervailing force against the political machine of conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. This election cycle, Patriot Majority USA has spent more than $7 million on political advertisements, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That makes it the largest Democratic-aligned dark money operation in the country.”

“Between January 2011 and December 2012, Patriot Majority USA raised roughly $26 million, according to tax records. The source of most of that money is not publicly known. But a Center for Public Integrity review of Department of Labor, FEC, and Internal Revenue Service filings shows that 13 contributors have combined to give Patriot Majority USA about $4.7 million since January 2011.

“Among the newly identified contributors: the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare ($500,000), the International Longshoremen’s Association PAC ($50,000), the American Health Care Association ($25,000), and the American Association for Justice PAC ($10,000).

“Patriot Majority USA’s top known donor is the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, which gave $1.25 million over two years.”

MI Candidates Outspent by Dark Money

Midland Daily News: “In the race for Michigan Attorney General, incumbent Bill Schuette spent almost $1.8 million on television advertising as opposed to $358,500 for opponent Mark Totten, as reported by the Michigan Campaign Financial Network.”

“The Michigan Advocacy Trust spent an estimated $2.6 million for television ads in support of Schuette and against Totten. MAT’s founder, Richard McLellan, headed Schuette’s transition team after he won election in 2010 to the attorney general office.

“Totten’s campaign got a boost from the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, which spent an estimated $470,000 for ads that attacked Schuette.”