Since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that money essentially equals speech in Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission in 2010, and later in the US Court of Appeals Speechnow.org v. the Federal Election Commission decision, unregulated “expenditures” have flowed to so-called Super PACs. Both conservative and liberal groups have rushed to create these organizations that supposedly exist to work on “social welfare” causes. However, they are often sham non-profits whose sole purpose is to support or attack a candidate or a political issue. The political advantage of being a 501(c)(4) organization centers on two things: they are not limited in how much money they can take in for their so-called social welfare work, and they do not have to disclose who their donors are. Some have called this “dark money,” because the funds donated to these Super PACs can’t be traced to individuals or groups. If this smells of money laundering and the creation of an elaborate shell game with front organizations to hide who the political puppet masters are, that’s because it is.
By law, candidates and elected officials cannot coordinate with these Super PACs during an election or to shape policy. It’s a crime to do so, but that hasn’t stopped the Koch brothers from helping politicians of both parties get elected – and then calling in political favors.
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Investigative reporter and Truthout contributor, Greg Palast, has spent most of his career exposing the corrupting effects of money and politics in many hard-hitting pieces. Greg is gifted in his ability to connect the dots between billionaires and politicians by following the money. In the Citizens United era, it can be more difficult to follow the money because of the anonymity 501(c)(4) Super PACs afford their donors. But that hasn’t stopped Greg, who shares with me some of what he has uncovered in his Truthout article, “Christie and Koch in Cahoots? It’s Time to Subpoena the Committee for Our Children’s Future.”