This Week in Dark Money

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hikingartist/5727282498/">Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig</a>/Flickr

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

Americans turned off by super-PACs: A new survey from the Brennan Center for Justice finds that 65 percent of respondents say they trust the government less since they feel super-PACs have more power than the people. And 26 percent, particularly “communities of color, those with lower incomes, and individuals with less formal education,” say they’re less likely to vote this year because of it.

Megadonors step up to the plate: iWatch News reports that seven wealthy men and three cash-heavy organizations have contributed a third of all super-PAC money (and just 46 donors are responsible for $110 million). iWatch has immortalized the top donors with their own interactive trading cards. This rookie Sheldon Adelson looks like a keeper.

Wall Street bullish on super-PACs: Meanwhile, the Center for Responsive Politics finds that the securities and investment industry continues to blow other industries away in the big money game. Casinos are number three, thanks to Adelson.

Coming to a race near you: As Mother Jones’ Andy Kroll reports, a growing number of super-PACs are funneling cash into state and local races in efforts to oust congressional incumbents and influence smaller campaigns. The trend promises to create new problems wth campaign finance disclosure, which is inconsistent and often lacking at the state level.

Using dark money to hide dark money: Andy Kroll also reports that Crossroads GPS, the dark money outfit cofounded by Karl Rove, doled out $2.75 million to the Center for Individual Freedom, which fights dark-money disclosure laws. A Washington Post analysis finds that Crossroads GPS, which does not disclose its donors, has spent $12.6 million on anti-Obama ads so far. Meanwhile, Crossroads GPS’s super-PAC affiliate American Crossroads has released a new ad, a racially tinged attack that casts the president as being too “cool.”

Latest stats from the money war: As supporters of Obama and Mitt Romney max out their legally allowed donations to the candidates, they’re turning to super-PACs to keep the money flowing. So far, Obama and the Democrats have raised more campaign money, but pro-Romney and conservative super-PACs have a cash advantage.

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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