This Week in Dark Money

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/OccupyObamacare?feature=watch">OccupyObamacare</a>/YouTube

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

Dark money mastermind starts most generically named super-PAC ever: James Bopp, the brains behind the Citizens United case, has created a new super-PAC called the USA Super PAC. It’s not his first: Last May, he launched the Republican Super PAC, which hasn’t done much since, and he worked on the pro-Rick Santorum super-PAC Leaders for Families before throwing his support behind Mitt Romney.

C is for campaign commercial (and that’s good enough for me): On Thursday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2 to 1 to strike down a ban on political advertisements on public TV and radio. The court ruled that the ban was too broad, violated free speech rights, and that its repeal wouldn’t pose a threat to educational programming. Does this mean attack ads during Downton Abbey?

Zombies against Obamacare: As iWatch’s Michael Beckel reports, a former Obama backer and health insurance salesman has started a horror-themed super-PAC called Occupy Obamacare. He’s produced two videos featuring “Dr. Obamacare,” a scythe-wielding zombie Obama. In one video (see below), the evil doctor blows up Herman Cain. He’s also on Twitter.

Rove’s outfit launches anti-Obama ads: Crossroads GPS, the dark money nonprofit linked to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super-PAC, spent $1.7 million this week on TV anti-Obama ads in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Meanwhile, Democratic super-PACs are low on funds and have yet to initiate a counteroffensive.

What happens to Santorum’s super-PAC cash?: As the Center for Responsive Politics’ Viveca Novak puts it, super-PACs for washed up candidates “can do pretty much anything they want with the money. They can have a margarita party in the Bahamas.” It appears that the only limitation is that they don’t spend their leftover cash in coordination with a candidate’s campaign—although there’s little indication that anyone intends to enforce that rule. 

Are your neighbors super-PAC donors? The campaign finance watchdog MapLight has broken down all of the super-PAC donor disclosures into this handy state-by-state influence visualization.


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In "News Never Pays," our fearless CEO, Monika Bauerlein, connects the dots on several concerning media trends that, taken together, expose the fallacy behind the tragic state of journalism right now: That the marketplace will take care of providing the free and independent press citizens in a democracy need, and the Next New Thing to invest millions in will fix the problem. Bottom line: Journalism that serves the people needs the support of the people. That's the Next New Thing.

And it's what MoJo and our community of readers have been doing for 47 years now.

But staying afloat is harder than ever.

In "This Is Not a Crisis. It's The New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, why this moment is particularly urgent, and how we can best communicate that without screaming OMG PLEASE HELP over and over. We also touch on our history and how our nonprofit model makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there: Letting us go deep, focus on underreported beats, and bring unique perspectives to the day's news.

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