A. Barton Hinkle on the Misguided Case Against 'Dark Money' in Politics


Credit: takomabibelot / Flickr.com / CC BY

According to liberal activists, "dark money" is the most dangerous threat to democracy in America today. What is dark money? Is it given to politicians? No. Is it given to political parties? No again. Is it the expenditure of funds by outside political groups coordinating with the candidates, campaigns, or parties? No—coordination is verboten. Is it the expenditure of funds by outside groups without disclosing how the money was spent? No again. When a group spends "dark money" on a TV ad, it has to report how much it spent, who received the money, and so on. In other words, writes A. Barton Hinkle, "dark money" is not a threat to democracy but efforts to ban it do qualify as attacks on free speech.