Biden campaign received $145M ‘dark money’ donations: report
President Joe Biden‘s 2020 presidential campaign was aided by $145 million in “dark money” donations to outside groups backing him, according to a Saturday report from Bloomberg News. All this, despite comments from Biden, as well as Democrats criticizing such aspects of campaign finance.
According to the Bloomberg report, anonymous donors gave about $145 million to outside groups advocating for Biden’s campaign, which is miles ahead of the $28.4 million spent on behalf of then-President Donald Trump.
The previous record-holder was 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who had $113 million in dark money donations spent promoting his failed candidacy.
Priorities USA Action Fund for example, one of the highest-profile Democratic super PACs backing Biden, used $26 million in funds originally donated to its nonprofit arm, called Priorities USA, to support the then-candidate, according to Bloomberg. The money’s donors do not need to be disclosed.
During his 2020 campaign, Biden raised a record-breaking $1.5 billion, however, he could only accept donations of at most $2,800 from individual donors under FEC rules. Of that staggering number, $318.6 million of which came from donors who gave less than $200 each, whereas the other money originated from donors who gave over $825,000, with that money split between Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to Fox News.
Those critical of dark money, which hides the source of the funds, have argued that voters ought to know who’s bankrolling political campaigns and advertisements. The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group, has called it a “serious threat to our democracy,” and Issue One, another nonpartisan group that aims to reduce the influence of money in politics, has called it “the most toxic force in politics,” per Fox News.
While Democrats have introduced legislation in the past to bring down the hammer on anonymous donations, they decided to welcome dark money donations themselves as they fought till the bitter end to oust Trump out of the Oval Office.
“We weren’t going to unilaterally disarm against Trump and the right-wing forces that enabled him,” Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA, told Bloomberg.
This Bloomberg report comes as one of the first bills the new Senate will vote on is the “For the People Act,” introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and is the Senate equivalent of the House act of the same name. The act seeks to require that all political organizations disclose their donors, on top of wanting to implement automatic voter registration and expand same-day voter registration across the country.
“The 2020 election underscored the need for comprehensive, structural democracy reform,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who led the charge with the legislation’s House version, said in a statement on his website. “Americans across the country were forced to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering and a torrent of special-interest dark money just to exercise their vote and their voice in our democracy.”
Biden, as part of his plan to reform government, called for prohibiting certain kinds of nonprofits from spending money in elections and mandating that any organization that spends more than $10,000 on federal elections to register with the Federal Election Committee (FEC) and publicly name its donors, per Fox News. Priorities USA, under such rules, would have been forced to disclose its donors.
Democrats got around $326 million in dark money donations during this past election cycle, the Center for Responsive Politics says, which is more than two-times bigger than the $148 million collected by the GOP, per Fox News. However, the GOP has historically outplayed Democrats when it comes to dark money.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Jim Jordan demands IRS explain unexpected visit to Matt Taibbi’s home during testimony
Matt Taibbi, a journalist who has been the top of the headlines for exposing Twitter censorship at the direction of the Department of Justice, had a surprise visit from an IRS agent at his home.
This visit occurred the same day that he was testifying before the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about what he had discovered inside of the Twitter files. Now, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, demands to know why the agency made the visit.
SaraACarter.com also contacted the IRS media relations office Tuesday afternoon and was told by an IRS press officer to send an email for comment. As of Tuesday evening the IRS has yet to respond to the immediate inquiry.
Jordan sent a letter Tuesday to the IRS questioning the visit by the agent to Taibbi’s home in New Jersey. In the letter Jordan demanded that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen turn over documents and provide all information requested by the committee.
“As the Committee continues to examine how to best protect Americans’ fundamental freedoms and to assist the Committee in its oversight, we ask that you please provide the following documents and information:
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the IRS’s field visit to the residence of Matthew Taibbi on March 9, 2023;
- All documents and communications between or among the IRS, Treasury Department, and any other Executive Branch entity referring or relating to Matthew Taibbi; and
- All documents and communications sent or received by Revenue Officer [James Nelson] referring or relating to Matthew Taibbi.”
Jordan noted in the letter that his committee is committed to examining “the mounting evidence that the federal government pressured, coerced, and even directed technology companies to take certain actions related to digital content.”
The Republican lawmakers were astonished that “an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent visited, unannounced and unprompted, the home of one of the hearing witnesses, Matthew Taibbi, an independent journalist who has reported extensively on government abuse. In light of the hostile reaction to Mr. Taibbi’s reporting among left-wing activists, and the IRS’s history as a tool of government abuse, the IRS’s action could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate a witness before Congress. We expect your full cooperation with our inquiry.”
The letter went on to say that “Mr. Taibbi joined fellow journalist Michael Shellenberger in testifying before the Select Subcommittee during its March 9 hearing. During the hearing, Mr. Taibbi described the serious government abuse on which he had been reporting and on which he testified to the Select Subcommittee. As he explained:
The original promise of the internet was that it might democratize the exchange of information globally. . . . What we found is in the [Twitter] files was a sweeping effort to reverse that promise and use machine learning and other tools to turn the internet into an instrument of censorship and social control. Unfortunately, our own government appears to be playing a lead role.”
Jordan’s inquiry into the IRS is not the first time the Congress has questioned the actions of this private government contracted agency.
In 2013, the IRS admitted that it had been targeting conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner, who had then headed the IRS, stated that her agency had been scrutinizing groups that had “tea party” or “patriots” in their names. These were almost all conservative non-profit organizations.
Those inquiries by the IRS mainly took place in 2009 and 2010, and as reported in NPR “hundreds of groups affiliated with the party had sought tax-exempt status as 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations. IRS demands for documents left many of them in bureaucratic limbo for a year or more.”
Taibbi’s investigation into Twitter’s actions prior to Elon Musk’s takeover revealed major concerns expressed by former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters that the social media giant was censoring supporters.
The investigations by Taibbi proved that shadow-banning was occurring and it was targeting primarily Republican activists, journalists, and politicians using the platform. The evidence proved the the FBI had advised Twitter to not allow stories or posts that revealed the Hunter Biden laptop scandal that had first been reported by the New York Post. Those accurate stories were censored by Twitter and later it was revealed that the laptop did belong to Hunter Biden.
Senate Republicans are also deeply concerned about the actions taken Taibbi. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted Tuesday that the IRS visit to Taibbi “this absolutely stinks to high heaven” because the “IRS has a troubling history of targeting the political enemies of Democrats.”
This absolutely stinks to high heaven. The IRS has a troubling history of targeting the political enemies of Democrats.
The IRS should NEVER be in the business of harassing the American people. https://t.co/twY3KBcgXx
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 28, 2023
Two Democrat lawmakers at the hearing were attempting to get Taibbi to reveal his sources, which is unconstitutional. Taibbi refused to answer Representatives Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, and Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands questions.
It was during his testimony that Taibbi’s house was being raided by the IRS.
You can follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC
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