President Obama has been denouncing “dark money” since 2010, when he declared it “a threat to our democracy.” And he’s right to be concerned: Dark money — in the form of donations to politically active nonprofit organizations that do not have to disclose their donors — now amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars each election.
If he actually wanted to do something about it, he could — without any involvement by Congress. He could issue an executive order requiring corporations that do business with the federal government to disclose their dark money contributions and those by their top executives.
But last week, as 104 congresspeople and 26 senators urged him to do that, he used his spokesperson Eric Schultz to wave them off. “We believe Republicans should be taking steps to fix the campaign finance system, not trying to protect their ability to accept dark money,” Schultz said.
It’s hard to disagree with that. But it would be just as hard to disagree if a Republican spokesperson said, “We believe the Democratic president should be taking steps to fix the campaign finance system, not trying to protect his party’s ability to accept dark money.”