By Chase Hill / January 23, 2019

Liberals Spent More Dark Money Than Conservatives During Midterms

$150 million in dark money was spent in last year’s election cycle.

How to Give Away Your Billions
(Sanjit Das/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A new report by Issue One, an organization that wants to reduce money in politics, says that liberal groups make up 54% of the $150 million in dark money spending during last year’s election cycle.

Conservative groups make up 31% and bipartisan or nonpartisan groups account for 15% of the list of the biggest politically active nonprofit organizations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010, nonprofits who don’t disclose their donors have invested almost $1 billion in political ads.

The biggest nonprofit spender was Majority Forward, which spent almost $50 million on ads and was active in 10 Senate races last year and was the biggest nonprofit spender in the midterm elections.

Other politically active nonprofits that made Issue One’s list are Majority Forward, Patriot Majority USA, VoteVets Action Fund, and the League of Conservative Voters. Collectively, those four groups have spent $127 million since 2010 on political ads. A total of $723 million has been spent.

Overall, nonprofits with conservative leanings that don’t disclose their donors have outspent liberal nonprofits since 2010.

“It’s no surprise that both Democrats and Republicans utilize whatever political vehicles are at hand,” said Nick Penniman, chief executive officer of Issue One, told the WSJ. “Both parties view it as an arms race.”

Although some Democratic presidential hopefuls promise not to accept dark money like this, it should be noted that several of the largest nonprofits are connected to super PACs.

“Many of the biggest nonprofits have companion super PACs. Majority Forward shares staffing and strategy with Senate Majority PAC, a left-leaning super PAC. Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and One Nation, two groups associated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, work alongside the Republican super PAC Senate Leadership Fund,” the WSJ reports.

Nonprofits are prohibited from spending the majority of their money on politics, but are rarely reprimanded by the FEC or the IRS.

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