Democrats’ Dark Money Outspent Republicans By 66% In 2020


    Democrats have been complaining for a decade about “dark cash”, but they actually received $1.5 billion in “dark funds” spending in 2020, as opposed to $900 million for Republicans. This is according to a New York Times analysis.

    Dark money is money that has been spent outside of political campaigns or parties. They are either organized as “social welfare” organizations under section 501 (c)4 federal tax code or as 501 (c)3 charities that receive contributions from donor-advised fund that allows many donors to remain anonymous.

    Democrats claim that Republicans have been the main beneficiaries of “dark cash” for many years. This has been true ever since Citizens United in 2011 decided that the Federal Elections Commission couldn’t censor anti-Hillary Clinton films before elections. People who are organized as corporations have the same rights as individuals and have the right to free speech.

    Clinton, like almost all Democrats since then, has pledged to amend the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in order to limit corporations’ ability to spend on election expenses. They have created a dominant “dark-money” machine.

    Shane Goldmacher and Kenneth P. Vogel of The Times note that Democrats have even funded anti-Trump groups funded by the Republican Party.

    This analysis shows that 15 non-profit organizations most closely aligned to the Democratic Party spent over $1.5 billion in 2020, compared with roughly $900 million by a similar sample of 15 groups that are politically active with the G.O.P.

    One entity, with a mysterious name, that has been serving as a clearinghouse for undisclosed cash for leftists, the Sixteen Thirty Fund. It received mystery donations up to $50 million, disseminated grants of more than 200 groups, and spent $410 million total in 2020. This is more than the Democratic National Committee.

    The big-money right split over Mr. Trump’s election. Anti-Trump Republicans created new groups that were accepted into the left’s large-money firmament. Defending Democracy Together was co-founded by William Kristol in 2018. It spent almost $40 million in 2020, $10.5 million of which came from the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Trump’s false claims about voter fraud have hampered Republican efforts to compete against progressive groups that heavily spent to encourage early and mail-voting.

    The prospect of Trump’s second term sparked a new generation of megadonors and allayed some lingering concerns about the damaging effects of secret money on the Left.

    Republicans are trying to catch up by organizing their own “dark-money” efforts to challenge President Joe Biden’s policies. They still have much to catch up. Biden, who had a difficult start to the race, raised more than $1 billion in 2020 directly, compared with $800 million for Donald Trump, who was outspent despite having the advantage of being incumbent.