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

“He’s not going to get grassroots support from individuals; I don’t think he’ll get organized support by the party or 501(c)(4)s and I don’t know how you survive without that kind of support.”
—Republican operative Bradley Blakeman, expressing skepticism about Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) chances at unseating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill after his comment that victims of “legitimate rape” aren’t likely to become pregnant. Groups including Karl Rove’s dark-money Crossroads GPS have pulled their ads from the race (for now).

 

attack ad of the week

The liberal nonprofit Patriot Majority USA dropped $500,000 on an ad campaign targeting Charles and David Koch for attempting to “buy this year’s elections and advance their agenda.” But two can play the dark-money game: The web of groups collectively referred to as Patriot Majority has disclosed its mostly union and Democratic bigwig donors since 2006, but Patriot Majority USA doesn’t plan to.

 

stat of the week

7 percent: The amount of television stations’ revenues that may come from political ads, thanks to super-PACs and nonprofit groups, according to Moody’s. TV stations are required to give discounted rates to campaigns, but those rules don’t apply for outside spending groups. “It’s like Christmas in September for broadcasters. And October,” David Keating, head of the pro-Citizens United group Center for Competitive Politics, told Politico.

 

chart of the week

Between 2011 and this July, conservative super-PACs have spent $137.1 million, four times the $33.1 million spent by their liberal counterparts. The Center for Responsive Politics charted this year’s numbers:


 

more mojo dark-money coverage

Super-PAC Cash Still Favors GOP: Conservative super-PACs continue to dominate their liberal rivals in the latest round of fundraising.
GOP Money Machine Choking Off Support For Rep. Todd Akin: Both Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the GOP’s main Senate committee are ending ad support for Akin.
Lefty Dark-Money Group Drops $500K Attacking The Koch Brothers: Patriot Majority, a liberal nonprofit group, says its new ads are the opening shots of a sustained anti-Koch campaign.
 

more must-reads

• An exhaustive account of how nonprofits claiming to be social welfare groups are pouring millions of dollars into the 2012 election. ProPublica
• No one seems to be taking the rule banning campaigns from coordinating with outside spending groups too seriously. Politico
• While his brothers were off playing the dark-money game, Bill Koch built himself a private Old West town. Denver Post

More Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money

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We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

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