“Dark Money” Made Up Only 2.9% of Funds Spent on Campaigns in 2016

“Dark Money” Made Up Only 2.9% of Funds Spent on Campaigns in 2016

A new report from the Center for Competitive Politics found that concerns over the presence of nonprofit organizations that do not report their donors (ominously called “dark money”) are “overblown.” The report shows that:

  • Dark money” declined in both absolute and relative terms from the last presidential election cycle, down to $184 million from $309 million.
  • “Dark money” accounted for only 2.9% of all campaign expenditures in 2015-2016.
  • Nonprofits have never accounted for more than 5% of all election campaign spending in any election cycle.
“For years, opponents of free speech have made it seem like campaign spending by nonprofits is dominating our politics. It’s not,” said CCP President David Keating. “Nonprofits play a small but important role in campaigns. If only politicians and PACs could speak about candidates, Americans would be worse off.”
“The hysteria over ‘dark money’ is overblown. By far, candidates and political committees continue to have the loudest voice in campaigns,” said CCP Senior Policy Analyst Luke Wachob.

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