After House Democrats passed a major overhaul of campaign finance, Mitch McConnell is blocking the bill in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), like many other Republicans in Congress, has been aggressively bashing HR 1, the sweeping anti-corruption bill that Democrats passed in the House last week. McConnell has called the bill a “radical, half-baked socialist proposal” and a “political power grab” by Democrats, and has made it clear he won’t bring the measure up for a vote in the Senate.
But when it comes to campaign finance, both parties have their hands dirtied by dark money, and it’s not a given that closing loopholes on disclosure of campaign spending would prove more beneficial to Democrats. Although conservative groups have spent significantly more dark money (political spending that doesn’t reveal where the funds originated) than liberal groups over the past decade, liberal groups have not been shy about exploiting the current campaign finance system for their own benefit. Conservative groups have spent approximately $763.2 million in dark money over the past decade, while liberal groups spent approximately $235.8 million during the same time frame.
But recently, dark money has favored Democrats. In the 2018 midterms, almost double the amount of undisclosed funds was spent to boost liberal candidates than conservatives. This also reflected the fact that the Democratic candidates in the House and Senate greatly out-raised their Republican counterparts.
One liberal dark money group, Majority Forward, accounted for about $1 of every $3 in dark money spent during the 2018 election cycle, according to an analysis by Issue One, a nonpartisan campaign finance advocacy group. Majority Forward is a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit founded in 2015 as an affiliate of the Democratic super-PAC Senate Majority PAC.
Majority Forward spent most of its money in 2018 against vulnerable Republican Senate candidates in Arizona, Florida, Montana, and other states. According to Issue One’s analysis of all dark money spending since Citizens United, Majority Forward is the fifth biggest dark money spender in the country.