Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why billionaires want to hide their campaign contributions

The influence of billionaire dark money groups has dramatically expanded to every level of government ever since the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United. The high court decision allowed outside organizations like corporations and trade associations to spend unlimited money on political campaigns.

Dark money groups are nonprofits allowed to fund campaigns without disclosing donors to anybody. In the last election cycle, they spent over $400 million.  The Americans for Prosperity super PAC, the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers political slush fund,  directly spent at least $36 million in the 2012 election alone. The group contributed money to other dark money organizations that poured money into elections as well.

Billionaires hide donations in these shady organizations so voters don't know where the funding comes from.  Fact is, when workers learn where the shady campaign money comes from -- and what it's actually pushing into law -- the billionaires lose.

The Koch brothers' fund poured over $15 million into advertising for a 2012 anti-worker California referendum.  But, because workers were aware of how devastating the measure was, millions of workers came out to crush the measure at the polls -- including over 25,000 Teamsters voting for the first time.

Even in campaigns as small as city council elections, the Koch influence is real.  In Coralville, Iowa, a town with fewer than 20,000 people, Koch volunteers have been blanketing the town in flyers.  But local workers are having none of it. Reports the New York Times,
Americans for Prosperity seems to be winning few adherents here, or at least anyone willing to admit so publicly. Thumbing through a survey at Kathyl Jogerst’s door on a rainy afternoon last week, John Sevier, a 22-year-old volunteer with Americans for Prosperity, started a question to her by saying the City Council had moved $5 million out of the school district budget. 
Ms. Jogerst, 61, cut him off.  “No, they didn’t,” she said. “I know the agenda with your group.”
It is important to know the truth about where this group and others like it come from.  After all, once people are aware of the truth, no amount of billionaire cash can change their minds.