Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reform Requires Knowing Basics about Campaign Financing

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reform Requires Knowing Basics about Campaign Financing

Article excerpt

The Post-Gazette's editorial "Dark Money Scourge" (May 30) raises important issues of campaign spending and privacy but unfortunately might confuse more than enlighten.

The PG notes that in 2012, about $570 million was spent in the presidential race by independent groups. This, it says, is "often called 'dark money,' " with donors "kept secret."

This confuses two issues. Independent spending is merely spending by groups of citizens not affiliated directly with a candidate or political party. It amounts to approximately 20 percent of total spending on presidential campaigns. In congressional races, it is approximately 15 percent. The vast majority of spending comes from the candidates themselves.

Furthermore, most independent spending is not "dark money" - it is done by "super PACs," which are required by law to disclose all donors over $200. …

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