The 2016 Campaign Rivals Watergate for ‘Dark Money’ in Politics

Albert Hunt in Bloomberg: “The 2016 presidential campaign not only will feature more money than any since Watergate, but also more secret money than the days when black satchels of illicit cash were passed around.”

“The so-called dark money, or contributions that don’t have to be disclosed, topped more than $300 million in the 2012 presidential race, and some experts believe that the levels may be far higher this time. There also is a risk that foreign money could be surreptitiously funneled into the presidential campaign because it wouldn’t have to be publicly disclosed.”

“This time, presidential candidates, especially Senator Marco Rubio, are getting into the act. Almost one in five television ads has been financed by dark money, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — most of that from the Conservative Solutions Project, a nonprofit that backs Rubio.”

“The biggest dark money practitioners, however, have been the Chamber of Commerce and one of Republican strategist Karl Rove’s political arms.”

“The Federal Election Commission could force these organizations, with their heavy campaign involvement, to register as political committees, requiring them to name their donors. But the FEC, almost from its inception 40 years ago, has been toothless.”

 

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