Odessa American: Undermining our system (In the News)

Odessa American: Undermining our system

By Mona Charen

When Democrats speak of “dark money,” they are creating a bogeyman. Here’s what they’re referring to: When nonprofits like Planned Parenthood, trade associations or the NRA (i.e., groups that devote more than 50 percent of their activities to nonpolitical matters) spend money on political messaging, they do not have to disclose their donors (except funds earmarked for that particular ad).

As former FEC Chairman Brad Smith explains, this represents a small fraction of total campaign spending. In 2012, it was 4.3 percent. In 2016, it’s coming in at under 3 percent. We know how much they spend, because they must report it. We know what they represent, or in the case of a group like Americans for Prosperity, we can easily find out. And nothing in the Citizens United decision altered disclosure requirements…

Donald Trump again signaled his contempt for democratic norms by declining to say he’d respect the results of the election. But Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, who stoke mistrust by falsely spinning conspiracy theories of illegitimate, dark forces controlling our system are also to blame for the parlous state of social trust in America.