Money & Politics

This Week in Dark Money: June 15, 2012

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We’re proud to collaborate with Mother Jones in sharing insightful journalism related to money and politics. We’ll be posting this weekly roundup every Friday. Share your thoughts about these must-read stories and always feel free to suggest your own in the comments section.

A quick look at the week that was in the world of political dark money

THE MONEY SHOT

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We need our side to wake up.”
—Democratic Senate Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil, in an plea to wealthy liberal donors to start giving to super PACs to narrow the party’s outside-spending gap.

CHART OF THE WEEK

Casino tycoon and former Newt Gingrich super PAC megadonor Sheldon Adelson gave $10 million to the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future this week — the largest disclosed donation in support of Romney to date. Adelson and his wife have contributed $35 million to super PACs so far, and Sheldon has said that he plans to give at least $100 million to conservative groups. For the billionaire, that’s just a drop in the bucket:

STAT OF THE WEEK

$367/hour: That’s how much the average House member has to raise to keep her seat. Senators must come up with $819 an hour. Check out our list of Congress’ most and least expensive seats, on an hourly basis.

RACE OF THE WEEK

Outside spending dominated the year’s first general election contest, held Tuesday to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) (who stepped down after last year’s assassination attempt). Parties and super PACs poured more than $2.3 million into the race between tea partier Jesse Kelly and former Giffords staffer Ron Barber (the victor). At least $1.1 million of it was in support of Kelly, including $100,000 from the Citizens United PAC, and nearly $200,000 from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. This recent ad from the House Majority PAC, which spent $458,000 supporting Barber and was the only Democratic super PAC in the mix, featured a clip of Kelly calling Giffords a “hero of nothing” in 2010, before she was shot:

MORE MOJO DARK MONEY COVERAGE

How Dark-Money Groups Sneak By the Taxman: Nonprofits like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS are all about “social welfare,” not partisan politics. Well, at least that’s what they tell the IRS.
Sheldon Adelson’s $10 Million Donation to Romney Super-PAC: Is this just the tip of the Iceberg?
• Tune in: This weekend, MoJo editors-in-chief Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery will appear on Moyers & Company to talk dark money. Check your local listings for times.

MORE MUST-READS

• Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod calls for a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United — after meeting with super PAC donors. New York Times
• Campaign-finance reform advocates hail a decision to let people to donate to campaigns via text message. Center for Responsive Politics
• Corporations are people: A conservative dark-money group lists a corporation as a board member. Republic Report
• 73 million cans of Natty Light — and other stuff Sheldon Adelson could buy with $10 million. Huffington Post

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  • Anonymous

    Yes indeed, Greg Palast’s book title, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” hit the nail squarely on the head.

  • Patrick McGean

    Dark Money not unlike the Dark Side, the evil of it all.  Your closing thoughts allowed me to understand the term Commentator, it was rather good,  sir.
    Now to the solution to the dark money, get healthy, give no money to Darkest of the Dark side, pHarma and the cash of the Dirty Dark Tricks.
    We study Organic Sulfur a crystal food and believe we can defeat the Dark Money of the Dark Side by becoming healthy.
    Seven billion people sulfur deficient.
    Sulfur addresses stupidity and cancer thanks to the oxygen it transports taken from us by the Dark Money of the Dark petrochemical industry, Dark gold, no more, we will burn nothing for electricity.
    Thank you Bill Moyers and Thoma Frank should stop observing and get involved, both of you are sulfur deficient, sorry.

    Director
    Cellular Matrix Study
    Body Human Project est. 1999
    organicsulfur@sisna.com

  • Elmo

    Much of this is dark Koch money. I wish there existed a comprehensive list of products to boycott. It irks me to know I’m supporting the fringe right extremists when I buy paper towels.