Dark Money in Coal Country

2014 1029 dark st“The group, which was officially launched in 2008 but has only just become a major political player, is a prime example of the influences that dark money has in American politics.” (Image: American flag and dollars via Shutterstock)Do you want media that’s accountable to YOU, not to advertisers or billionaire sponsors? Invest in independent media – donate to Truthout today!

Dark money is a strong and mysterious force.

With under a week to go until Election Day, the Senate Majority PAC has released a new ad slamming Mitch McConnell, hoping that it will help Alison Lundergan Grimes pull off the upset and unseat the current senate minority leader.

The ad attacks McConnell for protecting his retirement savings, while wanting to privatize social security and put everyone else’s life savings at risk.

The ad is so damning that McConnell’s camp has tried to get it pulled from the air unsuccessfully.

But, it appears that ad may be too little too late, and that’s thanks in large part to the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition.

So what’s the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition?

Well, there’s a lot we don’t know about it.

We don’t know who’s pulling the strings of the group, who sits on its board, and where it gets all its money from.

As the group’s website says, there is a policy, “to not provide the names of its donors to the general public.”

But, what we do know is that the group has bankrolled 12,000 of the 79,000 ads that have aired in Kentucky during campaign season.

According to Scott Jennings, the PR point person for the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, the “non-profit” group has spent at least $14 million since the beginning of 2013 to, “help ensure the organization’s message is dispersed in an efficient and effective manner.”

And, official FEC records show that the group has spent over $7.1 million on “expenditures” that “expressly advocate” for the election of Mitch McConnell or the defeat of Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The group, which was officially launched in 2008 but has only just become a major political player, is a prime example of the influences that dark money has in American politics.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision, groups like the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition can pour millions of dollars into campaigns and elections, all under a veil of secrecy and mystery.

They can corrupt our democracy all they want, and effectively silent the voices of the American people.

If we ever want America to have a functioning democracy again, then we need to amend our constitution to say that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.

To join the movement, go to MoveToAmend.org.