This Week in Dark Money: August 10, 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.


“The point of having a super PAC is like having a Rolex. It’s a pain to tell time with a Rolex, but it’s great for looking rich and picking up girls. Similarly, our super PAC isn’t here for raising money, but it gives us a very unique bragging right.”
—Anthony Kao, president of the Joe Six PAC super PAC, talking with the American Prospect. He got the idea to create his super PAC, which has raised $0 to date, after finding an article on Reddit about a Florida man who launched 60 of them.



A new ad (which has yet to air on TV) from the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action features a familiar face. Joe Soptic, who was laid off from a Missouri steel plant after it was sold to Bain Capital, appeared in an Obama campaign ad in May that blamed Mitt Romney for closing the plant. Soptic appeared in the Priorities ad wearing the same shirt (but no glasses) and insinuates that Romney is partly responsible for his wife’s death from cancer. Campaigns and super PACs are prohibited from coordinating with each other, and both camps said they hadn’t. But after news that Soptic told his story to reporters during an Obama campaign conference call in May, an Obama spokeswoman walked back a claim that the campaign was unaware of Soptic’s story.

Here are the two ads:


193 percent: How much spending by groups that don’t have to disclose their donors has increased in 2012 compared with the same time in 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.


A new study by the liberal think tank Demos and the US Public Interest Research Group sheds some light on the wealthy donors behind this year’s “tsunami of slime.” Among the findings: 58 percent of all outside spending has come from just five groups, and 1,082 donors account for 94 percent of all super PAC donations from individuals. We chartified some of the data:


• How Secret Foreign Money Could Infiltrate US Elections: Think the United States is immune from foreigners’ campaign cash? Think again.
• 250 Years of Campaigns, Cash, and Corruption: From George Washington to Citizens United, a timeline of America’s history of political money games.
• Dark Money’s Top Target: Claire McCaskill: Will Dems save the centrist Missouri senator from Karl Rove’s attack ad onslaught? Don’t hold your breath.


• New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ramps up his investigation into shadowy 501(c) groups. New York Times
• Republican senators urge the IRS to ignore political pressure for “sudden changes to well-established law” when it considers revising dark-money rules. Senate Finance Committee
• Senate candidate Heidi Heitcamp (D-N.D.) gets Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS to pull a false attack ad against her. Talking Points Memo
• Kansas Senate President Steve Morris, a Republican who lost his primary Tuesday, blames Koch brother-affiliated outside groups from moderates’ defeat in state races. Huffington Post

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  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, while the “pro-Obama” ad may be a bit questionable regarding it’s timeline, there are two things that need to be noted: 1) this is Mr. Soptic’s story and while the timeline may be longer than intimated the truth is that this man’s wife died after he lost his job & health insurance so she wasn’t able to go see a doctor and if I remember correctly this man went from making $46k /yr to $15k that’s over half of his income, 2) the false equivalence between this ad and Mittens lies that have not been picked apart by the corporate owned lame-stream media is as wide as the Grand Canyon!

    Frankly, I for one am disgusted and thoroughly tired of our democracy being up for sale to the highest bidder; and I’m just as disgusted by the dumbing down of the sheeple in this nation! The real issues going forward are our vision for this nation. WE have tried for 30+ years the same failed trickle down policies and the only things that have happened are greater wealth disparities, fewer services, crumbling infrastructure, hemorrhaging of our manufacturing jobs, and stagnant wages for working Americans! I for one am NOT willing to return to further deregulation of the Oligarchy, more unnecessary wars of choice from a chicken-sh-t bunch of people that have never even bothered to “serve” their country – yet have NO PROBLEM sending other people’s children off to die, less fairness within our democracy, and a return to women/minorities/immigrants being the footstools of rich, entitled old white men!!

    Preamble to the Declaration of the Indepence sec.2.4

    ” But when a long train
    of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces
    a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right,
    it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards
    for their future security.”