Dark money is a slang term for funds used to pay for an election campaign without disclosure before voters go to the polls. Funds can be spent on the behalf of a candidate running in an election, or to influence voting on a ballot question.
The term “dark money” was coined by the Sunlight Foundation to describe undisclosed funds that were used during the United States 2010 mid-term election. When paired, the two words “dark” and “money” suggest that voters were denied the knowledge of the sources of campaign spending, and were thus "kept in the dark." The term was inspired by the concept of dark matter in physics. Dark money has influence on the political system, just as dark matter exerts gravitational influence, but tracking that influence is impossible because the source of the contributions is not disclosed.
During the 2012 US Presidential election at least one major news paper, The Boston Globe, also began to use the term. Mother Jones magazine described the "dark money" of that election as originating from a “secretive coterie” of donors [...]
In other words, Dark Money is the fallout from the Citizens United decision, which in its dearth of wisdom equated Money with Speech. Must be kind of like how Gravity is just the same as Inertia?
... Like how Poverty is the same Capital Gains.
Montanans apparently have had enough of "Dark Money" in their politics:
by Andy Kroll, motherjones.com -- Jun. 5, 2013
Buffalo [MT] Republican Sen. Jim Peterson, SB 375's sponsor, said the initiative would require "full transparency" in Montana state elections.[...]
Peterson said anonymous spending by third-party 501(c)(4) nonprofit political groups has corrupted the political process by allowing undisclosed, outside spending in local races.
"Dark money has brought great divisiveness to the election process," Peterson said. "Locals have no idea who is influencing their politicians and their government officials, so today we're going to put the power back into the democratic process and let the people answer this question for us."
Montanans saw a flood of anonymous political spending in 2012, due to the combination of cheap ad rates and a fiercely fought US Senate race pitting incumbent Jon Tester against Republican Denny Rehberg. As ProPublica reported, total spending in the Tester-Rehberg race reached $51 million, twice as much as was spent in Tester's 2006 race. Of that, roughly $12 million was dark money.
New Yorkers too have had enough of "Dark Money" in their politics:
APNewsBreak: NY requires 'dark money' disclosures
Associated Press, June 5, 2013
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will require political groups that use millions of dollars in so-called "dark money" provided by unnamed donors to disclose how they raise and spend their increasingly influential cash.
He tells The Associated Press he'll require nonprofit groups to reveal their political spending, identify donors and detail expenditures such as broadcast and print advertising used in New York campaigns.
Schneiderman is scheduled to announce his new directive on Wednesday.
Californians have begun to codified how much they dislike "Dark Money" distorting local matters:
by Alex Gauthier, money-talks -- 05/30/2013
Support for SB 52, also called the “DISCLOSE Act” -- not to be confused with Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and Chuck Schumer’s (D-New York) efforts at the national level -- has followed a concerted public awareness effort from proponents and its sponsors, Sens. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).
The bill passed Wednesday after a 28-11 vote.
If signed into law, SB 52 would require the top three donors (over $10,000 for statewide positions and $2,000 for local races) of a political advertisement be openly identified either in the ad itself or on the campaign’s website. It would also compel disclosure for ‘issue advocacy’ advertisements, which may not directly support/condemn a candidate running for office, but can potentially influence voter choice.
Political Speech should not be controlled by anonymous wealthy donors.
The People have a right to know who is trying to sell them a bill of goods.
Dark Money must see the light of day. Pass it on.