Republicans set fire to liberal ‘dark money’ – and oppose new laws to disclose donors
WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has opened a new line of fire against liberal “dark money” groups that collect large sums of money from undisclosed donors and use it to promote the Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“Ahead of the 2020 election, a far-left black money group put Justice Jackson on their Supreme Court shortlist,” McConnell, R-Ky., said in the Senate last week. “Practically as soon as the president [Joe] Biden was sworn in, this group began spending large sums of money to raise Judge Jackson’s profile.
His office — and Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee — have unleashed a series of attacks on left-leaning “dark money,” particularly the Demand Justice organization, as Jackson comes under fire this week during his trial hearing. confirmation.
But on Tuesday, when asked by NBC News if he supported new laws requiring donor disclosure, McConnell said no.
“I’m supportive of how campaigns and issues are currently funded,” McConnell said, referring to independent 501(c)(4) groups that can raise large sums of money and conceal donors. “There are rational reasons not to disclose these entities. This has been my position for a quarter of a century and it remains my position.”
McConnell has long been a staunch opponent of campaign finance restrictions, battling in Congress and in the courts for years. His aides said he was simply accusing Democrats of hypocrisy for using black money. His remarks come amid a changing political landscape on anonymous money: Conservatives have overtaken the left for years, but after the election of President Donald Trump, liberal dark money groups have caught up and even overtaken their counterparts.
“We get our ass kicked” in the race for black money, lamented a Republican agent.
“Get Rid of It Both Sides”
During Jackson’s hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Thom Tillis, RN.C., presented a chart on Wednesday to illustrate the liberal “dark money” ecosystem. Senator Lindsey Graham, R.S.C., attacked “the troubling role of far-left black money groups” in the Supreme Court debate. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said “dark money groups like Demand Justice have paid millions of dollars” to “promote court packing.”
Democrats say black money should be banned, but they won’t unilaterally disarm as long as it’s legal and Republicans use it.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., said Tuesday that he was “the first to admit that there is black money on both sides – and I really hope we can get rid of it on both sides , shortly, through legislation”.
Democrats support the disclosure requirement for donors giving $10,000 or more to a super-PAC or 501(c)(4) group during an election cycle. The DISCLOSE Act, a White House-sponsored bill that has been introduced multiple times over the past decade, cleared the House and has overwhelming support among Democratic senators.
Still, the Republican No. 2 senator said there wasn’t much appetite in the caucus to demand donor disclosure, leaving the cause without much of a way to win the necessary 60 votes.
“I’ve never been a big fan of that kind of unlimited, undisclosed campaign money. But I’m kind of an outlier in my conference,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune, RS .D., to NBC News.
Thune said “there is a case to be made” about requiring disclosures, noting that campaigns are limited in their ability to raise funds and “so disadvantaged compared to outside groups because they can raise funds in unlimited amounts”.
“Like Putin complaining about territorial integrity”
Robert Maguire, the research director for Left Citizens for Accountability and Ethics in Washington, had a pithy perspective retort to GOP critics: “Mitch McConnell railing against black money is like Putin complaining about territorial integrity.”
That of the Supreme Court Citizens United v FEC 2010 ruling prompted corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. But although the judges said it was protected speech under the First Amendment, they did not rule out new laws requiring donor disclosure.
Whitehouse mocked the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network, which has spent millions promoting conservative judicial candidates, as “a black money group using black money to indict Biden’s Supreme Court nominee. – at that time a player to be named later, Judge Jackson had not been – to be a tool or a stooge of black money liberal activists.
Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said Republicans concerned about black money should endorse the DISCLOSE Act.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., a co-sponsor of the bill, said it would receive a vote in the full chamber.
“We would like to have a vote on the DISCLOSE Act and we will have a vote on the DISCLOSE Act in the Senate,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “The idea that Republicans are now claiming they’re against black money, even though they’ve blocked any attempt at legislation to get rid of black money, is saying something.”