Episode 303
Oct 20, 2020

What you need to know about dark money in this election

On today's show: how dark money has shaped elections, more than a decade after the Citizens United Supreme Court case.

Dark money is a bipartisan issue.

When the Supreme Court handed down the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission verdict more than a decade ago, conservatives were primarily benefitting from a system that allowed organizations with undisclosed donors to pour money into races.

“It is now reversed, and liberal organizations are spending more. All told, dark money is down this cycle,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics. “But what’s changed is that partially disclosing organizations have ramped up,”

During last week’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island used his time to outline the $250 million dark money “scheme” that influenced the nomination.

On today’s show, Krumholz walks us through how dark money has changed our elections and courts over the past decade, and why it’s so important for voters to know who’s trying to influence their vote. Plus, she’ll tell us why she thinks the Supreme Court might take another swing at campaign finance laws before too long.

Later, we’ll talk about the antitrust case against Google, the MSN news bubble and hear from a listener who voted early in Texas.

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Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Jody Becker Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sam Anderson Associate Producer