DARK MONEY TAINTS OUR ELECTION PROCESSES

As American voters are being subjected to an expanding spate of advertisements by political campaigns for and against candidates and issues of importance to us, it is important to see who is paying what for those ads. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, for example, is likely to spend $100,000,000 to defeat Texas Senator Ted Cruz in his election bid. House Majority PAC, a political action committee backing Democrats, will spend at least $186 million on federal races in 2024, according to the organization. This is just the “little stuff”, a “tip of the iceberg” in Democrat Party spending, much of which is what is called “dark money”. We also know, however, that in the Presidential race the two candidates will be getting much of their support from “big donors”. In any case, most of these millions will be spent on advertising.

According to data gleaned by the Epoch Times, The House Majority PAC, registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as the hybrid PAC HMP, announced its plans on April 7. In a statement, HMP said the campaign will hit 58 different media markets. $146 million of the spending will go toward television, and the remainder will go toward digital ad placements. The group called it an “initial round of reservations,” setting up the possibility of more spending later in the year. Democratic dark money groups, mega-donors, and unions are funding a massive spending effort aimed at reelecting President Joe Biden and advancing the Democratic Party’s power in Washington. The analysis of the financial records of the various groups shows many are a combination of federally regulated political action committees (PACs) and 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Nothing very unusual here.

Under federal law, PACs must report regularly to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), disclose their donors, and declare their overall finances. The nonprofits, which are classified as charitable organizations and social welfare organizations by the IRS, report much less often and aren’t required to name their donors. For this reason, 501s are frequently called “dark money” groups.

So far, nine major outside spending groups say they will together spend nearly $800 million to support the reelection of President Biden. This is in addition to the massive financial resources the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee will likely pour into the rematch of the 2020 election. The progressive organizations – American Bridge 21st Century, Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, Climate Power, League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn, Republican Voters Against Trump, Service Employees International Union, Unite the Country, and VoteVets— have pledged to spend a total of $792 million on the 2024 election to boost President Biden and the Democratic Party.

Former President Donald Trump, who is supported by the Republican National Committee and its affiliates, is not seeing nearly as many commitments. Groups pledging to back President Trump’s campaign or to hinder President Biden add up to less than a quarter of the amount pledged by the Democrat money powerhouse. All told, about $160 million has been formally pledged to explicitly help President Trump’s campaign, and Republicans in general. One major group has said it will spend “eight figures” to go against President Biden.

PACs that do share donor information are getting money from some of the most prolific donors and organizations in the United States. American Bridge 21st Century, a group specializing in researching and publicizing negative information about opponents of the Democratic Party candidates, said it will spend $200 million on the 2024 election. When American Bridge made its announcement in January, it said $85 million was already raised and committed. Their release said $140 million of its 2024 expenditure will go toward television, digital and streaming ads, radio, and direct mail placements in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. It could extend its effort to North Carolina. “These ads will feature the true stories of women voters and their families living in these key swing states and will use their voices to expose the truth about Trump’s agenda,” the release said.

George Soros – well-known as the “destroyer of nations” – has been financing anti-freedom organizations in America for many years. He funded many of the prosecutors who are “out to get Trump”. The most prominent supporter was the super PAC, Democracy PAC, an entity largely financed by George Soros. Between January 2023 and February 2024, Democracy PAC gave about $4 million to Democrat campaigns. According to data collected by the watchdog organization OpenSecrets, Mr. Soros was the biggest spender in the 2021 to 2022 election cycle, spending about $178.8 million. Mr. Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundations, is a prolific donor to Democratic and progressive causes. In 2023, according to FEC records, Democracy PAC had only one donor: George Soros. In 2021 and 2022, according to FEC records, DemocracyPAC had two donors: Mr. Soros and the Fund For Policy Reform. Fund For Policy Reform sent DemocracyPAC $25 million. Alexander Soros, George Soros’s son and the chair of Open Society Foundations, is a director of the Fund, according to its tax documents.

Two other Democratic Party mega-donors are bankrolling American Bridge. FEC records indicate Reid Hoffman and Deborah Simon both sent $1 million or more to the hybrid PAC. Ms. Simon, an heir to the Simon family real estate fortune, sent $2.5 million in 2023. Mr. Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn Corp., sent AB PAC $1 million in 2023. OpenSecrets ranked Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Simon among the top 25 largest spenders on the 2021–2022 election cycle. Together, they sent $35.7 million to liberal causes in that period.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents 2 million workers in the United States and Canada, according to the union. Its membership is primarily employed in health care, public services, and property services. In a March 13 announcement, the union said it will spend $200 million—its most extensive campaign ever – to reach as many as 6 million voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. “The union will engage multiracial working-class voters who are less likely to vote or have never voted at all through field programs, relational organizing, earned media, and paid media, partnering with community groups who are trusted messengers in their communities,” an SEIU release said. This is not very unusual for them, as government is their life blood.

Finally, Defending Democracy Together, a group led by commentator Bill Kristol, gave $2 million to the Republican Accountability PAC in December 2023. Mr. Kristol is a cofounder of the news organization Bulwark Media and a longtime critic of President Trump. Set your TV to avoid commercials if you want to avoid being subjected to them, and vote whatever way you wish.

JEFF BOSSHARD
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