Salon: RFK Jr. and the con men candidates: more than a sideshow — they're a real threat to democracy
"We do not have a clear picture of who is pumping significant money into our elections," Stephen Spaulding, the vice president of policy at Common Cause, told Salon. Especially after the disastrous 2013 Supreme Court decision dismantling much campaign finance law, he explained, there's "a universe of money influencing our elections that are coming from somewhere in large amounts, but we don't know where it's coming from."
While cautioning there's no legal way to distinguish real candidates from people who are in it for the grift, Spaulding did agree that campaign finance reform could make it less appealing to run for office merely as a brand-building or money-gathering exercise. He highlighted the DISCLOSE Act that Democrats support, but Republicans have filibustered to death in the Senate. The act would make dark money giving much more difficult, making it hard for candidates, both those sincerely running and those with ulterior motives, to enjoy the backing of wealthy interests who don't want their involvement known. He also called for the federal government to take more proactive steps to enforce laws that do exist, so people like Santos can be snagged before they get too far into the process — or even get elected.