This Week in Dark Money

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

the money shot

 

quote of the week

“We need our side to wake up.”
—Democratic Senate Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil, in an plea to wealthy liberal donors to start giving to super-PACs to narrow the party’s outside-spending gap.

 

chart of the week

Casino tycoon and former Newt Gingrich super-PAC megadonor Sheldon Adelson gave $10 million to the pro-Mitt Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future this week—the largest disclosed donation in support of Romney to date. Adelson and his wife have contributed $35 million to super-PACs so far, and Sheldon has said that he plans to give at least $100 million to conservative groups . For the billionaire, that’s just a drop in the bucket:

 

STAT of the week

$367/hour: That’s how much the average House member has to raise to keep her seat. Senators must come up with $819 an hour. Check out our list of Congress’ most and least expensive seats, on an hourly basis.

 

race of the week

Outside spending dominated the year’s first general election contest, held Tuesday to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) (who stepped down after last year’s assassination attempt). Parties and super-PACs poured more than $2.3 million into the race between tea partier Jesse Kelly and former Giffords staffer Ron Barber (the victor). At least $1.1 million of it was in support of Kelly, including $100,000 from the Citizens United PAC, and nearly $200,000 from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. This recent ad from the House Majority PAC, which spent $458,000 supporting Barber and was the only Democratic super-PAC in the mix, featured a clip of Kelly calling Giffords a “hero of nothing” in 2010, before she was shot:

 

more mojo dark money coverage

How Dark-Money Groups Sneak By the Taxman: Nonprofits like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS are all about “social welfare,” not partisan politics. Well, at least that’s what they tell the IRS.
Sheldon Adelson’s $10 Million Donation to Romney Super-PAC: Is this just the tip of the Iceberg?
• Tune in: This weekend, MoJo editors-in-chief Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery will appear on Moyers & Company to talk dark money. Check your local listings for times.

 

more must-reads

• Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod calls for a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United—after meeting with super-PAC donors. New York Times
• Campaign-finance reform advocates hail a decision to let people to donate to campaigns via text message. Center for Responsive Politics
• Corporations are people: A conservative dark-money group lists a corporation as a board member. Republic Report
• 73 million cans of Natty Light—and other stuff Sheldon Adelson could buy with $10 million. Huffington Post

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AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

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