Anonymous Shell Companies Are Part of the Problem, Too: Often Used to Inject Dark Money Into Campaigns

As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to consider a Constitutional Amendment to address the issue of unlimited campaign spending by corporations, wealthy donors and other special interests, the FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition is calling attention to the troubling use of anonymous shell companies in this area.

The Judiciary Committee is holding hearings in the wake of two recent Supreme Court decisions, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United, both of which have unleashed a torrent of big money into the elections process. However, both of these cases involved companies with identifiable owners.

The question that we are asking is what about all those donations from companies with hidden ownership? According to a report by U.S. PIRG, almost 17% of all business contributions to election Super PACs alone came from anonymous shellcompanies. In the 2012 election cycle, this totaled nearly $17 million.

“Looking at the impact unfettered campaign spending is having on the political system in general is only part of the story,” said Nick Jacobs, communications director for the FACT Coalition. “When almost 17% of business contributions to Super PACs are made by anonymous companies, we have a very real issue with accountability in campaign finance.”

Jacobs continued, “Until we have a system where we can identify the real owners of corporations, these anonymouscompanies will continue to be used to influence campaigns to say nothing of laundering money made from drug and sex trafficking, Medicare fraud, tax evasion and other illegal acts.”