Dark or Secret Money in Politics, the Corruption of Process
Secret campaign funding is destroying our democratic traditions and corrupting American politics. Since the Citizens United decision in 2010, a wide variety of hidden interests and individuals have been pumping dark money into our political process. “Dark” money refers to funding sources not publicly disclosed. The lack of transparency allows corporate interests to exercise inappropriate levels of influence upon legislators and the policy-making process. The Brennan Center at NYU recently issued a report Secret Spending in the States which noted that between 2006 and 2014 secret or dark money in politics has increased from 24 to 71% of the total in campaign funding.
Playing a Shell Game, Hiding the Sources of Funding
So how do corporations and special interests hide the colossal amounts of funding that they dump into elections, at all levels of governance? Well, there are a number of ways to do this: First of all, they simply make it enormously difficult to identify original funding sources—they donate to a PAC which channels money through a number of other PACs and then is distributed through a Super-PAC. The logic is very simple: if you hide what you’re doing under multiple layers few people will take the time or have the resources to figure things out. And guess what? It works. Another way to hide contributions is to form a Non-Profit entity and channel funds through its framework.
The Brennan Center report provides multiple instances from across the US of both of these strategies used by corporations to hide what they are doing. What they are doing is very simple: They are buying policy-makers, misleading voters and corrupting our political process. These types of practice tie in directly with the practice of government subsidies to corporations or corporate welfare.
People Over Profits, Getting Big Money Out of the Political Process
As long as we live and work in a society wherein what’s right and wrong take a backseat to profit margins and corporate interest levels of injustice will continue to increase. Whether the issue is the for-profit prison industry, the environment, veterans affairs, healthcare or racial justice this should be among the foremost of considerations for until you place people above profits any gains made will be short-lived. Organizations must ground themselves and prioritize their advocacy agendas and stand united against the corporate interests that are ruining our democratic institutions.