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

“Paul Ryan: Hustling for the 1 percent.”
—Protest signs carried by AFL-CIO members outside a Las Vegas hotel where Romney’s running mate attended a private “finance meeting” with Republican donors, including billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson has poured $36 million into conservative super-PACs and has said he’ll spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Obama. An attendee told the New York Times that he “saw no dialogue between” Ryan and Adelson.

 

attack ad of the week

A new dark-money group called the Special Operations Opsec Education Fund has released a 22-minute Swiftboat-esque video, “Dishonorable Disclosures” that features former special forces officers who accuse Barack Obama of leaking state secrets for political gain. The group is run in part by members of tea party groups and focuses primarily on Obama’s handling of the Osama bin Laden raid. It repeats the claim that Obama has been too boastful about the raid. “Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden,” a sneering former Navy SEAL says in the video. “America did.”

 

stat of the week

Two: The number of 501(c)(4) nonprofits that, combined, have spent more than all super-PACs combined. ProPublica reports that Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Koch-affiliated Americans for Prosperity have spent nearly $60 million on television ads, compared with $55.7 million spent by super-PACs, and $22.5 million spent by political parties.

 

race of the week

On Tuesday, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson won a hard-fought GOP Senate primary. The antitax super-PAC Club for Growth Action spent $1.7 million on ads in support of former Rep. Mark Neumann, who finished third. Including money targeting Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin (like $850,000 from the US Chamber of Commerce), $4.5 million in outside money has been spent on the Wisconsin Senate race. Here’s one of the ads Club for Growth ran against Thompson and challenger Eric Hovde:

 

more mojo dark-money coverage

Can Harold Ickes Make It Rain for Obama?: The Democratic operative has cussed, clawed, and outsmarted his way through three dozen elections. His new fight: Stop Karl Rove and Co. from steamrolling the president.
The Reformers Strike Back!: The conservatives behind Citizens United have lost some key fights lately. But another battle over corporate money in politics looms.
Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Busted for Bogus Ad: Crossroads GPS says it proactively pulled the inaccurate ad. Well, not quite.

 

more must-reads

• Just four states and Washington, DC, are responsible for two-thirds of all super-PAC cash. MapLight
• Charles Koch explains why he “fights for economic freedom.” Newsmax
• Gardener and pro-Obama super-PAC megadonor Amy Goldman talks politics. NPR
• A campaign finance reform group’s infographic puts a superhero spin on super-PACs. Rootstrikers

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GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

Yet, we just came up pretty short on our first big fundraising campaign since Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting joined forces.

So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

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