I wanted to share with you three charts about changing trends with money in elections, and how Sludge is following the money.
Groups that are separate from campaigns are spending more money on elections than ever before. These groups—like super PACs—often pop up out of nowhere and use generic names that don’t tell you anything about who’s behind them.
Nonprofits that don’t disclose their donors—so-called “dark money” groups—are increasingly routing money through these outside spending groups, making it hard to pin down where all the political spending is coming from.
And of what donors can be identified, an increasing amount has been coming from billionaires.
This is our beat. We’re focused on money in politics. Here’s some of what we’ve covered recently: we revealed that an oil industry group was the mysterious funder of a pop-up group backing conservative Democrats, we broke news that a dark money hub of the MAGA movement was seeing an increase of anonymous donations, and we assembled the most complete list of corporations giving to the dark money affiliates of the super PACs aligned with the leaders of the House and Senate.
We need Sludge readers like you to join as a $5 a month subscriber so we can continue doing this work. The first month will be matched 12x by the NewsMatch drive, sponsored by the Institute for Nonprofit News.
With your support, we’ll follow the money in 2024 and flag the key races where dark money spending is rampant. Our stories often get linked in political newsletters and shared by writers with large followings, but we don’t have funding from journalism foundations or a wealthy benefactor to put out these money-in-politics stories.
Sludge is a two-person, reader-supported independent newsroom. The NewsMatch drive running now is absolutely vital for us to be able to send you news in the 2024 election year on Big Money, dark money, and all manner of hidden influence.
Subscribe now for $5 a month and the first month will be matched 12x by the NewsMatch drive. Our subscribers receive new Sludge stories over email the moment they’re published and full access to our website. Also, if you support our work with a $10 a month subscription, we’ll send you a Sludge market bag—and we’ll receive an additional $120 boost from the NewsMatch drive. We’re relying on folks reading this note to keep Sludge online in 2024.
-David Moore and Donald Shaw