Ever since the Supreme Court told us that money was speech and corporations are people, it's been permissible for big corporations and plutocrats to make anonymous unlimited donations to political races — but you can bet that the Senators who owe their seats to the dark cash know exactly who they're beholden to.
Mitch McConnell, a staunch advocate for getting shit-tons of money from rich people, took in $23M. And this was just a warm-up for 2016, when the big guns come out.
The $11.4 million spent anonymously for Mr. McConnell, though, didn't even make him the biggest beneficiary of secret donations, a phenomenon that grew substantially in this election cycle. In the 2010 midterms, when this practice was just getting started, $161 million was spent by groups that did not disclose donations. In this cycle it was up to at least $216 million, and 69 percent of it was spent on behalf of Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In Colorado, at least $18 million in dark money was spent on behalf of Cory Gardner, the Republican newly elected to the Senate; $4 million was spent on behalf of Senator Mark Udall, the Democratic incumbent. In North Carolina, $13.7 million in secret donations was spent for Thom Tillis, the new Republican senator; $2.6 million went to Senator Kay Hagan, who was ousted.
Dark money wasn't the only type of spending that polluted the cycle; this year there were 94 "super PACs" set up for individual candidates, all of which are attempts to bypass federal limits and allow big givers to support the candidates of their choice. (These donations have to be disclosed.) Of the $51.4 million these groups spent, 57 percent were on behalf of Democrats. Overall, of the $525.6 million in independent expenditures this cycle (excluding party committees), about 57 percent was for Republicans.
Dark Money Helped Win the Senate [NYT]
(via Hacker News/a>)