The Guardian: Dark money: the quixotic quest to clean up US campaign financing
But Karen Hobert Flynn, president of the democracy reform group Common Cause, said: “The reality since that decision shows that it is not necessarily independent – we see lots of coordination between candidates and Super Pacs – and it causes enormous damage to our imperfect democracy where wealthy mega-donors, corporations, special interest groups not only impact and influence elections but, once elected, lawmakers feel like they need to grant favours for those who funded their campaigns.”
Super Pacs are obliged to disclose their donors but these can include non-profits which make the original source of the money hard to track. More than 2,000 Super Pacs operated in each of the last two election cycles.
The negative consequences have been felt not only in Washington but at state level, added Flynn, whose long fight for campaign finance reform in Connecticut bore fruit in 2008. “It has created a huge amount of cynicism that Congress and state legislatures are corrupt because they benefit from outside groups spending money on their behalf and that people’s voices do not matter.
“The money has also led to further polarisation, driving more extreme kinds of measures, particularly on the right where we’ve seen money supporting those who want to overturn a fair and free election. If you look at the top 10 Super Pacs and their outside spending so far just in 2022, you’ll see nine out of the top 10 Super Pacs are conservative or support Republican candidates. It isn’t like, ‘Hey, both sides do it and it’s equal and it’s not a problem.’”