“Dark Money Illuminated Issue One shines a light on the top 15 secretive groups spending millions of dollars to sway voters and malign candidates”


Just 15 dark money groups in the post-Citizens United era accounted for over 75 percent of the more than $800 million in political dark money spent between January 2010 and December 2016, according to Issue One’s new year-long investigation, “Dark Money Illuminated.”

During this period, these groups — some of which spent to help Democrats and some of which aided Republicans — reported spending more than $600 million in political dark money to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and were ranked as the top 15 dark money spenders, according to an Issue One analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and FEC.

“Dark Money Illuminated” shines light on approximately 400 donors and donor organizations who have funded these leading dark money groups that specialize in the attack ads and negative campaigns that are poisoning our elections. These donors are being made searchable in an extensive, first-of-its-kind databasecontaining nearly 1,200 transactions, each supported by primary source documents. You can also see these records in ProPublica’s FEC Itemizer database.

At its core, “Dark Money Illuminated” also highlights how little even the most seasoned experts are able to unearth about the secretive, dark money groups that are coming to define congressional elections.


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