In a bygone era when the wealthiest political donors were major industries that stood to gain from free-market deregulation, Democrats long railed against the evils of unfettered campaign finance—and, in particular, questionably sourced “dark money.”
But after a small, scrappy conservative production company shook the foundations of campaign-finance in the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United case during the Obama era, the Left quickly pivoted to openly embracing big-money donors.
Now, it seems, the tables have completely turned. An NBC news piece reported that leftist dark money groups outspent conservative ones for the first time in 2018, and the trend is continuing to grow.
“Their mantra of not ‘unilaterally disarming’ was really their justification for learning how to master super PACs and dark money and all that,” said left-wing lobbyist Craig Holman of the radical anti-corporate activist group Public Citizen. “And they’re doing a better job of it right now than the Republicans.”
Some, like failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, have operated largely in plain sight. After receiving a plum speaking spot at the recent Democratic National Convention, Bloomberg announced this week that he planned to spend $100 million for Biden in Florida alone. That amounts to nearly $5 per citizen.
Other Democrat mega-donors, like George Soros, use a network of shell companies and nonprofit entities to effectively launder political donations toward more nefarious causes. Soros also was involved in Florida operations, including a recent ballot initiative that would restore voting rights to felons, provided they pay all applicable fines and costs.
But it is impossible to know the true scope of their subversive activities in a year when alarms over massive voting fraud are at peak level.
Left-wing activist groups also have mastered the art of concealing supporters’ identities using crowdsourced aggregator sites like Act Blue, which exploit loopholes in the finance laws to make funding sources untraceable.
The watchdog group Take Back Action Fund conducted a computer data analysis that showed nearly half of all 2019 donations to ActBlue were made by people claiming to be unemployed, Fox News reported.
“The name of employers must be disclosed when making political donations, but more than 4.7 million donations came from people who claimed they did not have an employer,” said Action Fund President John Pudner.
All in all, that came out to $346 million supporting leftist activism from people without an identifiable source of income.
“It is hard to believe that at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate was less than 4%, that unemployed people had $346 million dollars to send to ActBlue for liberal causes,” Pudner said.
That number promised to be even higher for 2020, Pudner said, with preliminary data indicating that 50.1% of ActBlue donations were from the jobless.
ActBlue dismissed the statistics, claiming many of their donations were from retirees, homemakers and others not considered typical workers.
But Purdner warned that it was more likely the untraceable donations were coming from illegal sources, such as foreign donations.
“ActBlue’s insistence on refusing to allow banks to verify their donations is an invitation to foreign programmers or others to send money through them using fake American names, and we encourage them to start letting banks verify the identity of donors to stop the potential for millions of dollars to influence our election,” Pudner said.
But curiously enough, while Democrats appeared to be winning the contest for organizing super-PACs to supply their funding pipelines, recent fundraising data from the Center for Responsive Politics revealed that it was the Trump campaign benefiting from greater small-dollar donations,
The nonpartisan group, which runs the site OpenSecrets.org, indicated that Trump’s donations of $200 or less outpaced those of his opponent, $229.5 million to Biden’s $139 million in the most recent cycle.
Although it may be a stretch to draw too many conclusions about what that signals, Just the News noted that more small donations could signal more engaged voters based on a 2017 study by Pew Research that correlated the two groups.
Meanwhile, Biden edged out Trump $187 million to $183 million in the big-money donations, presumably before Bloomberg announced his most recent cash dump.
At the very least, the Left’s coziness with the mega-rich puts many of its leaders, including Biden, at odds with their own message.
Ironically, at the DNC convention last month, the party adopted a platform calling for a ban on all dark money, and Biden has claimed he, too, would make it a priority.
But some are skeptical.
“If Democrats were to win the Senate and the White House, there is reason to be concerned that they may not carry through with their commitments,” Holman said. “I have no doubt that we are going to have to hold their word over their head.”
Meanwhile, many Democrats continued to justify their embrace of big-money donors by insisting it was the only way to stay competitive.
But Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, noted that the growing mega-donor trend seemed to fit a pattern that has accompanied Biden and other Democrat elitists throughout their long careers in the Swamp.
“It’s just like everything else Biden stands for,” Murtaugh said. “He believes it until it’s of political benefit to reverse himself.”