Although campaigning against big money in politics while on the campaign trail, before he was elected, Joe Biden experienced a windfall of benefits from a record-breaking haul of “dark money” contributions to his 2020 presidential campaign.
Biden’s campaign was backed by an unprecedented $145 million in dark money donations, dwarfing the $28.4 million spent on behalf of President Trump. It also tops the record of $113 million in anonymous donations that US Se. Mitt Romney (R-UT), saw in his failed 2012 campaign for the presidency.
The Biden campaign’s willingness to accept even a dollar of dark money contributions spotlights the campaign’s core hypocrisy in that Democrats – on the whole – have insisted they want to ban dark money citing its corrupting influence in politics.
Joe Biden benefited from a record-breaking amount of donations from anonymous donors to outside groups backing him, meaning the public will never have a full accounting of who helped him win the White House https://t.co/PHatXmtZjw
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) January 23, 2021
“Dark money” allows supporters to quietly back a candidate without scrutiny by donating to nonprofit organizations – for example, 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6) groups. Under current tax law, those groups are not required to disclose their donors.
To that end, the American people can never know which deep pocket globalists contributed to the Biden campaign and which agenda items for which they will be privately lobbying the President and his administration.
Joe Biden MUST release where his $145 million in DARK MONEY came from!!!!
Prove that it wasn’t CHINA!!!
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) January 26, 2021
Priorities USA Action Fund, the Super PAC (political action committee) that Biden himself endorsed for outside spending, spent $26 million in funds originally contributed to its nonprofit arm (Priorities USA) to advocate for the election of Biden. Those contributors will forever remain anonymous under the law.
The chairman of Priorities USA, Guy Cecil, was completely unapologetic and, in fact, defended the use of dark money. “We weren’t going to unilaterally disarm against Trump and the right- wing forces that enabled him,” Cecil said in a statement.
Future Forward PAC, a super-PAC that outlaid $104 million backing Biden, received $46.9 million from Facebook Inc. co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, $3 million from Jeff Lawson, the CEO of Twilio Inc., and $2.6 million from Eric Schmidt of Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company.
But the Future Forward’s most potent source of funding was its sister nonprofit, Future Forward USA Action. That shielded non-profit group contributed $61 million, and the names of those contributors don’t have to be disclosed.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a Progressive advocacy nonprofit, donated $55 million to Democrat Super-PACs – including Priorities USA Action Fund and Future Forward PAC – in the 2020 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. That total greatly exceeded the $3 million it facilitated in 2018.
Defending Democracy Together spent $15.6 million backing Biden and wasn’t required to disclose their contributors.
While existing campaign finance laws are meant to limit the influence of big money in politics, the system has gaping loopholes, loopholes by which Biden and other candidates capitalized.
Got Hypocrisy, Joe? Biden Raked in More 'Dark Money' Than Any Candidate in History, Dwarfing Trump's Donations https://t.co/tPvpTim6RR
— RedState (@RedState) January 24, 2021
Hypocritically, Biden’s campaign called for an outright ban on some types of nonprofit spending where political influence in elections was concerned. Biden said any organization that sought to spend more than $10,000 to influence elections should be required to register with the FEC and disclose its donors.
Big dark money donors – both individuals and corporations – have the same access to elected officials as those whose names were disclosed. The difference is that dark money donors support their candidates without the public being allowed to know who they are or what special interests their influence might benefit.
“The whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit,” said Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, which advocates for reducing the influence of money on politics. “It’s only dark money to the public.”
In the 2020 General Election cycle, Democrats benefited from $326 million in dark money, more than twice the $148 million spent by conservative groups, this according to the Center for Responsive Politics.