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Shadowy Dark Money Is Ruining Our Political System - Guess Who Dominated the Dark Dollars in 2020

Dark Money

It's an accusation flowing from both sides of the political aisle: conservatives say "dark money" controls White House policy on issues ranging from court-packing to the environment.

Dark money is a political contribution with no requirement to disclose who gave it and no limit on the amount.  

Democrats have long claimed that conservative dark money was the menace to the nation. But in the last two elections, Democrat dark money dominated.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said, "Maybe no issue has greater hypocrisy than debates over campaign finance reform and so-called 'dark money.'  Because Democrats thunder against dark money and yet Democrats dominate dark money."

Liberal dark money groups outspent their rivals by a three to one margin in the 2018 election, and five to one in 2020.

Roughly $1 billion in dark money was spent on the 2020 federal elections, mostly by Democrats, according to the website OpenSecrets.org from the Center for Responsive Politics.  

It says two-thirds of it came from shadowy political nonprofits and shell companies.

Joe Biden received five times as many of these contributions as Donald Trump. 

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt with Americans for Public Trust said, "Everything that is going on in America right now, where culture is being pushed with so many levers, there is usually a dark money group on the other side of that."

After the election, officials connected to dark money groups accepted positions in the Biden administration, including White House counsel Paige Herwig and Press Secretary Jen Psaki. They worked with a group called Demand Justice, which paid for a truck sign in Washington, D.C. demanding Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer resign to make way for a Biden appointment. Demand Justice also wants to pack the court.

Biden's Chief of Staff Ron Klain was a board member of the CAP Action Fund, which has been linked to dark money, and White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy led the Natural Resources Defense Council, another dark money group.

Laxalt believes this effectively makes Joe Biden a "puppet" of dark money. 

"These groups made an investment, they cared about 'x' issues and they're not just out there still spinning. A lot of them moved into the White House and they're helping to shape policy," Laxalt said.

Democrats in the new Congress have vowed to end dark money. Critics say maybe they will after they're done using it. 

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