Campaign spending is flooding all levels of government in the post-Citizens-United era. What is worse than the millions flowing freely, however, is that much of this is so-called “dark money”—the sources of this spending are hidden. The public has no idea who is behind the deluge of ads that can swamp a campaign in the final weeks of an election.
The Center for Public Integrity’s latest report on independent money spent on state-level races shows that state disclosure laws are weak or nonexistent in more than half of all states. You can find out about your state by clicking here.
Produced in collaboration with the National Institute on Money in State Politics, we show clearly that in 30 states it is impossible to calculate how much money is being spent on campaigns by outside groups like “social welfare” nonprofits — information that is mostly available when it comes to federal contests.
And in 35 states, disclosure laws are less stringent than federal election laws, meaning shadowy nonprofit groups and big-spending super PACs are able to do business virtually undetected in many races.