What Is Dark Money?

According to our partners at OpenSecrets.org, “dark money” refers to political spending meant to influence the decision of a voter, where the donor is not disclosed and the source of the money is unknown.  

Why does it matter?

If voters don’t know where the money is coming from, they can’t know whether the campaign messages they hear are credible.

Is it legal?

Current federal law allows donors to make unlimited contributions to nonprofit groups and Super PACs. Neither of these groups can legally coordinate their activities with candidates or campaigns. 

Super PACs must disclose their donors; nonprofits do not. Nonprofit groups can spend UNLIMITED dark money. 

Each state has its own disclosure laws. 

Want to know more about the laws in YOUR state? Our partners at the National Institute for Money in Politics created this handy scorecard.

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