Dark Money in Politics

I join the overwhelming majority of Americans to demand an amendment to the United States Constitution to end the domination of big money in politics and give voice to all Americans.
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What is Dark Money in Politics?

Have you ever heard the term dark money and wondered what it meant? Dark money in politics conjures up images of backroom deals and piles of money secretly changing hands. And as it turns out, that’s pretty close to the truth.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision unlocked the flood gates to dark money. “Dark money” generally refers to money that comes from groups that aren’t required to disclose their funders. A donor can give millions of dollars to a nonprofit, completely anonymously, and that money can then be cycled through many other nonprofits, enabling them to inflate their budgets and further disguise the sources of their funds. 

These groups can then spend many millions of dollars supporting Super PACs, or directly on campaign ads and other political services, which are also hard to track. Though dark money groups are technically supposed to report their spending to the IRS, they often use vague descriptors like “media services” to describe their spending, making it nearly impossible to decipher the exact nature of their expenditures. 

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Why is Dark Money a Concern?

When the Supreme Court struck down state and federal anti-corruption laws under a theory that any corporation or other entity has a “free speech” right to spend unlimited money to influence elections, as long as they disclose where the money comes from, wealthy political interests got creative. Now Super PACs may “disclose” their top funders, but those funders may just be dark money groups with a generic name like Majority Forward or One Nation, after which the money trail goes cold. Voters can’t actually learn anything useful about who is pouring billions of dollars into our elections. 

When voters don’t know who’s funding political ads or campaigns, it can be challenging to understand the motivations behind those messages. The hidden influence can potentially skew democratic processes, as voters are not fully informed about who is trying to sway their opinions and votes.

A more recent loophole has even allowed foreign government interference in some elections. 

Who is behind dark money?

We will amend the constitution to combat corruption, end elite and foreign money control of our elections, and secure the free speech and representation of all Americans.


Some businesses use dark money to influence policy and legislation in ways that could be favorable to their industries or specific corporate interests.

Wealthy Individuals

High-net-worth individuals might donate to dark money groups to promote their personal, political, or economic agendas without public scrutiny.

Special Interest Groups

These could include entities that have particular ideological, political, or economic interests, such as advocating for or against regulations, tax policies, or social issues.

Foreign Entities

There are concerns that foreign entities could use dark money as a method to influence another country's elections or policies without direct attribution.


In some instances, labor organizations might utilize dark money channels to further their goals and influence policy.

Dark money groups enable these individuals and organizations to spend millions of dollars influencing our elections without any accountability or transparency.

What can we do about it?

A series of misguided decisions dating back 50 years has established The Supreme Court as the final word on campaign spending, making it impossible for citizens or lawmakers to effect any substantive change. This isn’t just a political challenge, but a constitutional one. In order to correct the Supreme Court decisions that have enabled this sort of secretive, unlimited spending, we need a constitutional solution.

American Promise is devoted to a singular vision: Winning the For Our Freedom constitutional amendment to permit reasonable limits on political spending, ensuring every American voice counts.

Stay up-to-date with this movement to get big money out of politics.

Another installment in our series of stories about how our elections are being bought out from under us and all that matters is fundraising and the donor class.
Another installment in our series of stories about how our elections are being bought out from under us and all that matters is fundraising and the donor class.
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