This Week in Dark Money

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

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

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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