This Week in Dark Money

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hikingartist/5727282498/">Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig</a>/Flickr

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For the first installment of a new weekly feature, here’s a quick look at the week that was in the world of political dark money:

Dudes dominate super-PAC giving: No surprise here: Super-PAC contributions, like certain magazine award nominations, are dominated by men. The Houston Chronicle reported that women account for just 14 percent of super-PAC donors, citing it as an example of the “link between the underrepresentation of women in the political money chase and the underrepresentation of women in U.S. elected office.”

Colbert wins award for dark-money mockery: On Wednesday’s Colbert Report, Stephen announced that his show had won a Peabody award for it satirization of super-PACs. To poke fun at the runaway campaign spending following the Citizens United ruling, the Colbert Report founded its own super-PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, which ran bizarro political ads in early primary states. 

 

Romney hires GOP guru: As MoJo‘s Andy Kroll reported, Ed Gillespie, the man who created the powerhouse American Crossroads super-PAC with Karl Rove, has hopped aboard Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The move calls into question the supposed ban on coordination between super-PACs and candidates’ campaign operations.

“Take the Money and Run for Office”: Last week’s episode of This American Life explored the world of campaign finance. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) discussed the campaign reform bill they championed, which the Supreme Court ultimately ruled unconstitutional. NPR’s Planet Money blog published a companion piece charting the delicious ways politicians woo megadonors.

Congressional fundraisers: NPRAppetite for seduction: Congressional fundraisers, by meal NPR

 

Romney’s radioactive supporter: Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, who has pumped at least $700,000 into the pro-Romney Restore Our Future super-PAC, is pressuring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow him to dump radioactive materials including depleted uranium into his giant West Texas landfill. The “King of Superfund Sites” is hoping for Republican victories in November, having invested $16 million in the 2012 elections, including $12 million in American Crossroads.

Small banks launch super-PAC: Friends of Traditional Banking, a new super-PAC representing the interests of “traditional banks,” says it plans to raise money through small contributions. “Everyone knows that traditional banks didn’t cause the economic crisis, but that didn’t stop Congress from heaping massive new regulations on them and their customers,” the group, which like most banks opposes Dodd-Frank’s “massive new regulations,” said in a mission statement.

More Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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