Skip Navigation
Project

Dark Money

Citizens United unleashed unlimited spending in our elections, and groups can now spend hundreds of millions without disclosing their sources of funding. We advocate for greater transparency in election spending.

Overview

Citizens United created loop­holes in campaign disclos­ure rules that have made so-called dark money — funds from groups that do not disclose their donors — disturb­ingly common. Power­ful groups have poured more than $1 billion into federal elec­tions since 2010, typic­ally concen­trat­ing on the most compet­it­ive races. Dark money contin­ues to seep into exec­ut­ive, legis­lat­ive, and even judi­cial elec­tions, threat­en­ing the impar­ti­al­ity of state supreme courts across the coun­try. Without trans­par­ency, voters don’t know who is trying to influ­ence them, making it harder for them to reach informed decisions. 

The Bren­nan Center publishes extens­ive research on the effects of dark money in polit­ics, includ­ing its effects in state and local elec­tions, risks to judi­cial inde­pend­ence, and the threat of foreign funds in U.S. elec­tions. The center has proposed reforms to the Federal Elec­tions Commit­tee that would help the agency better enforce the law and improve campaign spend­ing trans­par­ency.

Our Experts