This Week in Dark Money

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/OccupyObamacare?feature=watch">OccupyObamacare</a>/YouTube

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A quick look at the week that was in the world of political dark money

Dark money mastermind starts most generically named super-PAC ever: James Bopp, the brains behind the Citizens United case, has created a new super-PAC called the USA Super PAC. It’s not his first: Last May, he launched the Republican Super PAC, which hasn’t done much since, and he worked on the pro-Rick Santorum super-PAC Leaders for Families before throwing his support behind Mitt Romney.

C is for campaign commercial (and that’s good enough for me): On Thursday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2 to 1 to strike down a ban on political advertisements on public TV and radio. The court ruled that the ban was too broad, violated free speech rights, and that its repeal wouldn’t pose a threat to educational programming. Does this mean attack ads during Downton Abbey?

Zombies against Obamacare: As iWatch’s Michael Beckel reports, a former Obama backer and health insurance salesman has started a horror-themed super-PAC called Occupy Obamacare. He’s produced two videos featuring “Dr. Obamacare,” a scythe-wielding zombie Obama. In one video (see below), the evil doctor blows up Herman Cain. He’s also on Twitter.

Rove’s outfit launches anti-Obama ads: Crossroads GPS, the dark money nonprofit linked to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super-PAC, spent $1.7 million this week on TV anti-Obama ads in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Meanwhile, Democratic super-PACs are low on funds and have yet to initiate a counteroffensive.

What happens to Santorum’s super-PAC cash?: As the Center for Responsive Politics’ Viveca Novak puts it, super-PACs for washed up candidates “can do pretty much anything they want with the money. They can have a margarita party in the Bahamas.” It appears that the only limitation is that they don’t spend their leftover cash in coordination with a candidate’s campaign—although there’s little indication that anyone intends to enforce that rule. 

Are your neighbors super-PAC donors? The campaign finance watchdog MapLight has broken down all of the super-PAC donor disclosures into this handy state-by-state influence visualization.


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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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