The Blog at CTA

Dark Money Scheme: Interlocking Nonprofits "Launder" Radical Right Political Contributions

 A new investigation by the Washington Post and the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics has traced a network of tax-exempt organizations connected to the Koch brothers, radical right wing billionaires, that funneled more than $400 million to political causes during 2012 alone.

“Dark money” from a Koch political network included contributions in California ruled illegal by the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state political watchdog agency.  Some $11 million went to aid political action committees seeking to defeat Proposition 30, the CTA-backed revenue measure that is bringing billions of new dollars to public schools.

Washington Post Reporter Matea Gold concludes, “The resources and the breadth of the organization make it singular in American politics: an operation conducted outside the campaign finance system, employing an array of groups aimed at stopping what its financiers view as government overreach. Members of the coalition target different constituencies but together have mounted attacks on the new health-care law, federal spending and environmental regulations.”

Gold notes that “Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a University of Notre Dame Law School professor who studies the tax issues of politically active nonprofits, said he has never seen a network with a similar design in the tax-exempt world.”

“It is a very sophisticated and complicated structure,” said Mayer, who examined some of the groups’ tax filings. “It’s designed to make it opaque as to where the money is coming from and where the money is going. No layperson thought this up. It would only be worth it if you were spending the kind of dollars the Koch brothers are, because this was not cheap.”

The political aims of the Koch brothers, unlike their funding mechanisms, are clear.  They include privatizing public education and undermining the rights of working women and men and the unions and political organizations that represent them.

Read more about this hidden network in the Washington Post.


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