Demonstrating the Threat: The Dark Money Hold on Democracy


Demonstrating the Threat

Demonstrating the threat that dark money has on American Politics must be a warning sign of the threat to the American democratic republic. The threat is real and gathering momentum even as I write these words.

Demonstrating the threat of dark money and its hold on the American Democratic Republic has never been clearer than in the past three years. In this post, I acknowledge the threat as an active and formidable force in the everyday politics of the United States.

Of course, this has been going on since 2010 when SCOTUS ruled on Citizens United v. FEC. Let’s take a short tour of the consequences of this and prior decisions that allowed for unlimited and unregulated organizational money to be freely provided to our politicians with no oversight required.

The recent indictment of former President Donald Trump has cast a glaring spotlight on a clandestine network of extremists who allegedly played a pivotal role in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. This revelation serves as a stark reminder of the insidious impact of dark money on American politics and its ability to erode the very foundations of democracy.

Demonstrating The Threat of Dark Money: The Extremist Network

While the indictment names six co-conspirators, the layers of involvement extend far beyond their individual actions. This network is characterized by meticulous planning, extensive funding, and calculated coordination. The Federalist Society stands out as a driving force among the key players. With a deep-rooted influence on judicial appointments, this society’s connections to Supreme Court nominees and lawmakers have facilitated the propagation of divisive narratives that culminated in the violent events of January 6th.

Demonstrating The Threat-Public Interest Legal Foundation: A Threat to Democracy

The role of the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) within this web of extremism is alarming. As an organization that thrives on disseminating unfounded claims of election fraud, PILF has orchestrated a campaign to undermine the trust in electoral processes. By promoting radical legal theories and advocating for measures that restrict access to the ballot box, PILF exemplifies how dark money can be exploited to compromise the democratic fabric.

Demonstrating The Threat-Claremont Institute: Manipulating Laws to Serve a Partisan Agenda

The affiliation of John Eastman with the Claremont Institute underscores the network’s strategic use of legal institutions to advance partisan interests. Leveraging its position as a center for constitutional jurisprudence, the Institute has championed the erosion of vital rights and protections under the guise of legal legitimacy. This calculated approach highlights the necessity of combating the subversion of legal processes for political gain.

Demonstrating the Threat: Center for Renewing America: Undermining Voting Rights

The Center for Renewing America’s concerted efforts to obstruct voting rights reforms raise concerns about the extent to which dark money can be wielded to manipulate policy debates. By disseminating baseless claims about election integrity, this center contributes to the erosion of public trust in democratic processes. Its resistance to critical reforms further underscores the need for comprehensive transparency and accountability measures.

Demonstrating The Threat: Challenging the Dark Money Influence

As the intricate tapestry of this extremist network continues to unravel, the imperative to counteract its corrosive effects becomes ever more pressing. Initiatives like the Monitoring Influence database launched by Accountable.US play a pivotal role in shedding light on the shadowy forces at play. However, to effectively counter the undue influence of dark money, concerted efforts from lawmakers, advocates, and citizens are required.

Demonstrating the threat: Let’s Name a Few Names

While certainly not a complete list, the donors below are among the oligarchs, think tanks, and not-for-profits that control Congress’s every major decision, no matter what constituents might think. They are the bane of our democratic republic. It helps to pay attention to the devil you can identify and even, then, defeat.

Koch Network

The Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, have been linked to a network of organizations that have supported conservative and Republican candidates through undisclosed contributions. Groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce have been associated with these efforts.

Crossroads GPS

This organization was co-founded by Karl Rove and has been involved in funding political activities that support Republican candidates and causes. It is known for not disclosing its donors.

American Action Network

A conservative advocacy group that engages in issue advocacy and has been known to support Republican candidates and policies. It operates both as a 501(c)(4) organization and as a super PAC.

Americans for Job Security

This group has historically been involved in supporting Republican candidates through issue-based advertising, often without revealing the sources of its funding.

DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund

These are donor-advised funds that have been used by conservative individuals and organizations to contribute money while maintaining donor anonymity.


An organization that advocates for limited government and individual liberty, it has supported Republican candidates aligned with its principles.

Citizens United

This organization gained significant attention due to the Supreme Court case of the same name. It has been involved in supporting Republican candidates through various means, including independent expenditures.

American Crossroads

Another organization co-founded by Karl Rove, American Crossroads is a super PAC that supports Republican candidates through advertising campaigns and other political activities.

National Rifle Association (NRA)

The NRA has historically been involved in supporting Republican candidates who align with their views on gun rights and other issues. Of course, this begs the question, of which came first, money or radical gun rights?

Here the question of money in politics might be seen, as Thom Hartmann argues fervently,a legal bribe, or is it, as the Supreme Court ruled, a matter of free speech guaranteed for entities and corporations as people. Here, money talks. The average American is fully outside of the functioning of Congress, as well as local and state governments. Let’s stop the madness that allows institutions to speak when they are voiceless only supporting the CEO’s political agenda. Money in Politics signals the end of our Republic as we have known it.

Conclusion: A Call for Transparency and Accountability

The indictment of Trump’s alleged co-conspirators serves as a stark wake-up call. A testament to the critical juncture at which American democracy currently stands. The persistent influence of dark money threatens the principles that form the bedrock of our nation. To safeguard the integrity of our democratic processes, there must be a resolute demand for transparency, and accountability. Additionally, a commitment to dismantling the structures that allow shadowy interests to thrive is a must. Only through these collective actions can we ensure that the voice of the people prevails over the insidious grip of dark money.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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