If there is one lesson the public has learned during election 2016, it’s that the mainstream media is more or less content to leave the forces that traffic in Dark Money undisturbed. With the 2018 campaign cycle just around the corner, political committees are already filing their papers with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Here’s a handful of Dark Money committees, and what I’ve discovered about them.
Great Genitalia Massachusetts, funded by Families for Excellent Families. This is the committee formed to pursue a referendum repealing the Massachusetts Transgender Rights Bill and restore the commonwealth to the immutable laws of the genitalia with which we were born, Amen. Families for Excellent Families is a New York “social welfare” organization that hides its contributors, though rumors persist that it gets its money from a Boston based non-profit, Seriously Greedy Plutocrats.
Democrats for Parenthood Reform. This ballot committee formed in support of an initiative to require religious counseling for all women seeking abortions. A possible funder is Foster Friess, the billionaire who once advocated that women place a Bayer aspirin between their knees as a birth control technique.
Massachusetts Fitness Alliance. MFA supports a ballot initiative that would require all school lunches to consist of a Double Whopper, Big Gulp, and a Snickers bar. Corporate involvement suspected.
I admit it, I made these up. But wouldn’t you want to know who is funding these groups?
Here are some other groups that I did not make up. They are real dark money fronts from a report by The Brennan Center for Justice, Secret Spending in the States:
Parent Teacher Alliance in Support of Rodriquez, Galatzan, and Vladovic for School Board. This local sounding committee was a conduit for millions from charter school proponents. “The local group’s name betrayed nothing about the original sponsors of its $2.3 million in ads, who included billionaire Michael Bloomberg and the family behind WalMart.”
Americans for Responsible Leadership. Reportedly funded by the Koch Brothers, this group kicked in big bucks to defeat a ballot initiative “to maintain a one-cent per dollar sales tax that helped fund Arizona’s public schools.” Arizona’s per-pupil spending is now third lowest in the nation.
Californians for Good Schools and Good Jobs. Who couldn’t love a name like this? But, “In California, misleading mailers opposing a local ballot measure to raise taxes on oil companies turned out to have been funded by … an oil company . . . Phillips 66.”
The point is that no matter what side you are on any of the ballot issues, all of us should be screaming that we have a right to know who is spending millions to influence our votes. This is our democracy – what’s left of it. We need to protect it.