In A Victory for Transparency, Dark Money Donors Revealed

The Supreme Court issued an order  yesterday upholding a US Federal District Court decision  that requires, effective immediately, more transparency in the naming of of donors to non-profit groups which run advertisements for or against political candidates. The lawsuit, brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) against the conservative group Crossroads GPS struck down a regulation which allowed organizations to essentially keep secret the names of its donors.

This decision, following similar decisive decisions by the district court and court of appeals this week, means that effective immediately, anyone making more than $250 in express advocacy ads — ads that tell viewers who to vote for or against — must now disclose the identities of all contributors who gave more than $200 in a year. They must also identify who among those contributors earmarked their contributions for express ads. Because of this decision, the contributors for a major category of dark money spending this fall will have to be disclosed to the public. (CREW Press Release, September 18, 2018)

The latest order from the Supreme Court supersedes one issued by Chief Justice Roberts over the weekend which stayed the decision of the District Court. While the district court decision will likely be appealed, any decision will come after the midterm elections.


Additional Resources:

Supreme Court Won’t Disturb Ruling Unmasking Dark Money Donors, New York Times, September 18, 2018.