When it comes to dark money — money spent trying to influence voters by groups that do not disclose their donors — the focus is often on the federal level. But a considerable amount of dark money is also going to state and local elections. Our weekly roundup looks at dark money spending at the local, state and federal levels.
Dark money has started flowing into Virginia’s statewide races, the Associated Press reports. An online campaign has attacked state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier, who is running for lieutenant governor. Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman running for governor, has also faced a social media campaign accusing him of supporting the removal of Confederate statues. Both campaigns are paid for by organizations that don’t have to reveal their donors. In Vogel’s case, the ads were placed by 406 Enterprises, a limited liability corporation. The anti-Gillespie campaign was sponsored by Conservative Response Team, a political nonprofit. Virginia has its primary on June 13. Its general election is Nov. 7.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is asking Missouri voters to ignore a dark money group running ads to support her, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. VoteVets, a liberal dark money group focused on veterans’ issues and encouraging veterans to run for office, has been running a series of ads praising McCaskill for her work to make the Department of Veterans Affairs more accountable. The ads have been co-sponsored by Majority Forward, an organization dedicated to electing Democrats to statewide offices. McCaskill has criticized dark money groups and called for overturning Citizens United. The Democratic senator “thinks dark money groups should disclose their donors, regardless of party affiliation … She’s told Missourians to ignore ads that aren’t paid for by the candidates themselves,” a spokesman told the Post-Dispatch.
The Connecticut House has passed a measure meant to stop dark money from entering the state’s elections, the Connecticut Mirror reports. The bill would stop independent expenditure groups from accepting money from organizations whose major funders are anonymous. It would also prohibit independent expenditure groups from accepting more than $70,000 annually from a single donor.