Shadow Puppets: Outside Groups Pulling the Strings in 2016 Election

by Deirdre Fulton – Representing a “fundamental shift in how presidential campaigns are funded in the United States,” so-called shadow campaigns are already dominating the 2016 election cycle, according to a new study issued Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice. The report, Shadow Campaigns: The Shift in Presidential Campaign Funding to Outside Groups, reveals that ostensibly independent groups—many of which in reality enjoy close ties to individual candidates—have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, greatly outpacing the candidates’ own campaign committees. Furthermore, the study finds, 95 percent of the outside money, or $270 million, has been collected by groups not subject to contribution limits, raising questions “about whether big donors are attempting an end-run around the strict limits on contributions to candidates’ formal campaign committees.” “The advantage of funds raised through unlimited-contribution groups is obvious,” the report explains. “One wealthy donor can write a check for millions. Campaign committees, on...

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