Ever have $3,000 in dark money slipped to you from out of state interests and then forgotten about it? That seems to be what happened to Malden Ward 3 School Committee candidate Mekka Smith.
Massachusetts law requires ballot committees to disclose their top five contributors in all television ads. But in 2016 Great Schools Massachusetts didn't do that. Read on to see the disclosure Massachusetts voters had a right to see - but didn't.
Massachusetts Board of Secondary and Elementary Education chair Paul Sagan recently issued a seven page letter defending his dark money contributions to banned-in-Boston Families for Excellent Schools Advocacy. His defense may be a violation of the precept, if you are in a hole, stop digging.
The bombshell Office of Campaign and Political Finance investigation into the activities of Families for Excellent Schools did more than impose a record fine and the death penalty on that dark money front. It raised questions about FES's tax status as a charity, questions that the IRS or state attorneys general may want to answer.
Dark money is a hard story to understand precisely because the wealthy interests behind it don't want us to understand it. But we can do a better job if journalists make it a priority and regulators give them some help.
Recent education policy shifts in Massachusetts have been directed by a handful of wealthy sharks who have hidden behind dark money. Until now.