Not So Dark

In her May 26 op-ed (“Dark Money Spending on Campaigns Is Spiking”), Helene Schneider describes the House Majority PAC as “a SuperPAC, which is not required to disclose its donors, [and] can spend unlimited amounts of dark money in campaigns.”

In fact, the House Majority PAC, and indeed all “Super PACs,” are required by law to disclose all of their donors who contribute over $200. [See e.g. The legal cite is 52 USC 30104(a)(4) and (b)(5)]. This information is publicly available through the Federal Election Commission website,

Mayor Schneider has made the common mistake of confusing “Super PACs” with nonprofit organizations such as the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which do not disclose their donors but also are limited in the amount of political activity they are legally permitted to undertake. Of course, we won’t know the final figures for the 2016 campaign until the end of the year, but political spending by these nonprofits — i.e., “dark money” — amounted to 3-6 percent of total federal political spending in each of the 2010, 2012, and 2014 campaigns. When all is said and done, I predict it be in that general range again.

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