This Week in Dark Money

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/OccupyObamacare?feature=watch">OccupyObamacare</a>/YouTube

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

Dark money mastermind starts most generically named super-PAC ever: James Bopp, the brains behind the Citizens United case, has created a new super-PAC called the USA Super PAC. It’s not his first: Last May, he launched the Republican Super PAC, which hasn’t done much since, and he worked on the pro-Rick Santorum super-PAC Leaders for Families before throwing his support behind Mitt Romney.

C is for campaign commercial (and that’s good enough for me): On Thursday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2 to 1 to strike down a ban on political advertisements on public TV and radio. The court ruled that the ban was too broad, violated free speech rights, and that its repeal wouldn’t pose a threat to educational programming. Does this mean attack ads during Downton Abbey?

Zombies against Obamacare: As iWatch’s Michael Beckel reports, a former Obama backer and health insurance salesman has started a horror-themed super-PAC called Occupy Obamacare. He’s produced two videos featuring “Dr. Obamacare,” a scythe-wielding zombie Obama. In one video (see below), the evil doctor blows up Herman Cain. He’s also on Twitter.

Rove’s outfit launches anti-Obama ads: Crossroads GPS, the dark money nonprofit linked to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super-PAC, spent $1.7 million this week on TV anti-Obama ads in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Meanwhile, Democratic super-PACs are low on funds and have yet to initiate a counteroffensive.

What happens to Santorum’s super-PAC cash?: As the Center for Responsive Politics’ Viveca Novak puts it, super-PACs for washed up candidates “can do pretty much anything they want with the money. They can have a margarita party in the Bahamas.” It appears that the only limitation is that they don’t spend their leftover cash in coordination with a candidate’s campaign—although there’s little indication that anyone intends to enforce that rule. 

Are your neighbors super-PAC donors? The campaign finance watchdog MapLight has broken down all of the super-PAC donor disclosures into this handy state-by-state influence visualization.


More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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