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Liberal Groups ‘Win’ at Dark Money Spending for First Time

Liberal advocates spent most of the "dark money" that underwrote much of the television advertising in the midterm election – the first time groups on the left outspent those on the right since this form of unregulated campaign cash was spawned by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Total spending of dark money – raised for the purpose of influencing elections through nonprofit organizations that are not required to disclose their donors – reached approximately $150 million, with 54 percent spent by liberal groups. (One of them, Majority Forward, accounted for almost one-third, with $46 million spent on ads in 10 competitive Senate races.) Conservative groups accounted for 31 percent, and those classified as bipartisan or nonpartisan the remaining 15 percent.


The numbers, based on data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, were crunched by Issue One, an organization that advocates reducing money in politics (and is incubating, but journalistically independent from, The Firewall). Issue One calculated that $960 million in dark money has been spent in the eight years since the Supreme Court ruling.

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The Wall Street Journal detailed the Issue One findings and reported ($) that Majority Forward – led by J.B. Poersch, a Democratic operative aligned closely with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – next plans to run $600,000 in new ads targeting six Republican senators during the partial government shutdown.

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