“Dark Money” influences US Senate elections


A new report has been published on the extensive involvement of outside groups on influencing elections in the USA, many of which are funded by “dark money” (non-disclosure of donors).

The report by USA-based academics Erika Franklin Fowler and Travis Ridout points out that in many of the most competitive Senate races advertising funded by outside groups surpassed the parties—and sometimes even the candidates—as the primary sponsors of political advertising.

The document outlines the fairly extreme lengths groups go to in order to avoid having to give detail about who their financiers are; for example, concentrating their spending outside the windows where legislation would require detailed reporting.

Across House, Senate and Gubernatorial races in 2014, 35.4 percent of ad spending came from groups that do not disclose revenue sources and another 6.4 percent of spending then came from groups that only partially disclose their funders.

There are fairly raises serious question marks around the democratic legitimacy of such groups and there’s no suggestion that their influence is going to decrease.

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