Federal funds flow to clean-energy firms with Obama administration ties while their competitors are sabotaged by Obama officials
Federal funds flow to clean-energy firms with Obama administration ties while their competitors are sabotaged by Obama officials
By Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens,
Shortly after Obama’s election, he left his California firm to join the Energy Department, just as the administrationembarked on a massive program to stimulate the economy with federal investments in clean-technology firms.
Following an enduring Washington tradition, Wagle shifted from the private sector, where his firm hoped to profit from federal investments, to an insider’s seat in the administration’s $80 billion clean-energy investment program.
He was one of several players in venture capital, which was providing financial backing to start-up clean-tech companies, who moved into the Energy Department at a time when the agency was seeking outside expertise in the field. At the same time, their industry had a huge stake in decisions about which companies would receive government loans, grants and support.
During the next three years, the department provided $2.4 billion in public funding to clean-energy companies in which Wagle’s former firm, Vantage Point Venture Partners, had invested, a Washington Post analysis found. Overall, the Post found that $3.9 billion in federal grants and financing flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers.
Obama’s program to invest federal funds in start-up companies — and the failure of some of those companies — isbecoming a rallying cry for opponents in the presidential race. Mitt Romney has promised to focus on Obama’s “record” as a “venture capitalist.” And in ads and speeches, conservative groups and the Republican candidates are zeroing in on the administration’s decision to extend $535 million to the now-shuttered solar firm Solyndra and billions of dollars more to clean-tech start-ups backed by the president’s political allies.
White House officials stress that staffers and advisers with venture capital ties did not make funding decisions related to these companies. But e-mails released in a congressional probe of Obama’s clean-tech program show that staff and advisers with links to venture firms informally advocated for some of those companies.
David Gold, a venture capitalist and critic of Obama’s investments in clean tech, said that even if staffers had been removed from the final decision-making, they had the kind of inside access to exert subtle influence.
“To believe those quiet conversations don’t happen in the hallways — about a project being in a certain congressman’s district or being associated with a significant presidential donor, is naive,” said Gold, who once worked at the Office of Management and Budget. “When you’re putting this kind of pressure on an organization to make decisions on very big dollars, there’s increased likelihood that political connections will influence things.”
Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera said the companies won awards based on merit, not political connections. He said the staffers and advisory board members reviewed by the Post had no role in funding decisions, nor did they have any personal financial stake in the companies. One of those administration advisers had first been appointed to his position by the Bush administration, LaVera said.
“As is evident from the 10-month long congressional investigation into Solyndra, Energy Department loans and grants are decided on the merits,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. “What’s more, these are all professionals with expertise in clean-energy science, finance or both — but none of them play a decisional role in DOE awards and none of them are in positions of regulating the industry.”
Venture capitalists arrive
During the 2008 campaign, the venture capital industry lined up behind Obama as he vowed to spur clean-technology development. Obama raised more than twice the venture capital contributions of his opponent, Republican candidate John McCain.
Known for making billions of dollars in the 1990s on Internet startups, venture firms in 2006 were rapidly switching to invest in clean tech. Legendary venture partner John Doerr, a leading early investor in Google and Amazon, that year called the clean-energy sector the next great profit center, “the mother of all markets.”
With the 2008 economic crisis, new private investment in fledgling clean-tech companies withered. But passage of the $787 billion stimulus package offered new opportunities to launch and grow those firms, with $80 billion set aside for clean energy and energy-efficiency efforts.
Suddenly flush with cash, the Energy Department was under orders to ramp up quickly and get money out to promising companies. The administration tapped industry players to take on key Energy Department roles, both as agency staffers and outside advisers on agency boards.
Wagle, then 38, took a job as a stimulus adviser in the agency’s recovery act office. Officials say his role did not involve making funding decisions for companies tied to Vantage Point.
Private investors cheered the administration for hiring industry colleagues. In a 2009 article, venture firm leader Jim Matheson said Wagle, along with another Washington-bound venture capitalist, David Danielson, would help ensure commercial successes from “the steady flow of dollars coming out of D.C.”
Wagle’s former employer had invested in several companies that received federal money: Brightsource, which won a $1.6 billion federal loan for a solar-generating plant; Tesla Motors, which won a $465 million loan to build electric cars; and biofuels firm Mascoma, which in 2011 received $80 million for a Michigan ethanol plant.
Wagle recently returned to the California venture capital industry to work as an investor and clean-tech adviser. Reached at his home, he declined to comment. Vantage Point Venture Partners, renamed Vantage Point Capital Partners, did not respond to requests for comment.
Danielson, formerly of General Catalyst, joined an Energy Department office whose mission was to fund breakthrough energy technologies. Officials say he had no role in arranging $105 million in funding for three General Catalyst portfolio firms.
David Sandalow, a former Clinton administration official and Brookings Institution fellow, had been paid $239,000 for consulting work for a venture capital firm, Good Energies, in 2008 before joining the Energy Department as assistant secretary for policy and international affairs, his disclosure form shows.
A Good Energies-backed firm, SolarReserve, won a $737 million agency loan. Officials say Sandalow played no role in arranging it and LaVera, speaking on behalf of Sandalow, said the assistant secretary had no financial interest in Good Energies or SolarReserve.
The Energy Department came under criticism from Republicans earlier this year when agency e-mails raised questions about a possible conflict of interest involving Steven J. Spinner, a former department loan adviser who disclosed that his wife worked for Wilson Sonsini, a Silicon Valley law firm that handled funding applications for several clean-tech companies.
Wilson Sonsini’s clean-tech clients reaped $2.75 billion in Department of Energy grants and financing, the Post analysis found.
One of the firm’s clients was Solyndra. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of favoring the risky company because its leading investor was tied to a major Obama donor.
Wilson Sonsini had its own connection to the White House: the firm’s chief executive, John Roos, was a top bundler for Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Before joining the administration, Spinner, a venture investor and start-up adviser, also helped raise $500,000 for Obama as a member of his national campaign finance committee. He has pledged to raise a half-million dollars or more for Obama’s reelection effort.
Once inside the agency, Spinner agreed not to discuss loan matters involving Wilson Sonsini clients. But e-mails show he urged career officials to resolve delays in the Solyndra loan, and also defended the financial prospects of Solyndra to a White House deputy before its federal loan was approved.
Spinner left the Energy Department in the fall of 2010. He did not respond to requests for comment. The department said Spinner was not involved in the company’s application review or loan approval.
A Wilson Sonsini spokesman said the firm does not believe its employment of Spinner’s wife influenced Energy Department decisions.
I nvestors as advisers
Thousands of agency and White House e-mails released as part of the Solyndra investigation show that venture capitalists who held advisory roles with the Energy Department were given access to Obama’s top advisers.
Steve Westly, an Obama fundraising bundler for both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, is a founder of the venture firm Westly Group and served part time on Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s advisory board.
The e-mails show that Westly communicated with senior White House officials, including Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, voicing concerns about the president’s planned appearance at Solyndra.
Westly’s firm also fared well in the agency’s distribution of loans and grants. Its portfolio companies received $600 million in funding. LaVera said Westly had no role in the funding decisions.
David Prend also surfaces in the e-mails as a venture capital investor who had White House access.
His firm, Rockport Capital Partners in Boston, was among the investors in Solyndra, with a 7.5 percent stake. The e-mails show him asking a White House aide to “help get the word out” about Solyndra and asking for help on another Rockport portfolio company. They show he and a group of venture capital investors met with new White House climate czar Carol Browner before Solyndra’s loan was tenatively approved, and the White House confirmed that the subject of the company came up briefly.
Prend had worked closely with the Energy Department since the Bush administration, when he was first appointed to an advisory panel for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He continued to advise the Obama administration, while also chairing a panel that helps advise the department on solar technologies.
The agency provided $550 million to several firms in which Rockport had invested at the time. The department gave an additional $118 million grant to an electric-car battery company, Ener1, that was partnered with Rockport portfolio car company Think. (Rockport soon after invested in Ener1.) Ener1 filed for bankruptcy protection last month.
LaVera and Chad Kolton, a Rockport spokesman, said that Prend’s advisory role was separate from stimulus programs and had no bearing on agency decisions about companies backed by Rockport.
How Obama's U.S. Department of Energy Defrauded Americans Out Of Their Life Savings In A Massive Crony Crime Cover-up
By The Commission - A Wikipedia-like public collaborative peer-to-peer news authoring network
Silicon Valley corporations funnel money to their covertly established Dark Money front groups who, in turn do two things.
1.) They send out character assassination attacks AGAINST opponents of the corporation who covertly work for the corporation, and...
2.) They conduit bribes, in a secret manner, to their crony candidates like Harris, Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, Breed, etc., who have promised them insider deals. When the shill candidate gets elected, these corrupt politicians support the agenda of the corporation and steer government funds to the corporation and away from the corporation's competitors.
At the Obama Department of Energy, while engaging in Dark Money corruption, the Energy Department hired Silicon Valley's own people to run the scam for Silicon Valley oligarchs. These crony crooks were paid in sex workers, insider trading stock and revolving door jobs and they worked hand-in-hand with the Federal government to attack and destroy competing domestic companies.
If multi-millionaire politicians are as 'impassioned to serve the public' as they say, then shouldn't they volunteer, for free, to serve in office and allow the taxpayers to see all of their stock market accounts and bank accounts?
Of course they will volunteer to help the public because most of them are getting "DARK MONEY" covert payola and they are in office only to serve their own criminal kick-back schemes. While left wing main stream news outets have long promoted the Koch Brothers as the force behind Dark Money, it is in fact left-leaning Greylock Capital, Google, Tom Steyer, Clinton Alliance, George Soros, Kleiner Perkins, Rothschild Family that operate the majority of modern Dark Money conduits. Their Dark Money operation is 356 times larger than that of the Koch Brothers. The left leaning operators, who ran the Department of Energy during the Obama Administration, use the law firms of MOFO, Wilson Sonsini, Perkins Coi, Latham Watkins, Covington and Burling and related firms as their cover-up designers for their covert machinations.
Politician's Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and 42 others, sent out letters, emails, meeting requests and pitches to solicit members of the public to join a cause. The top staff of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sent out the same pleas. They promised a "wonderful new opportunity for all" in the first market break for outsiders in 30 years.
In meetings, on camera, they promised to give members of the public a fair shot at a group of new Department of Energy funds that Obama had put in place.
They failed to mention one key fact: ALL OF THE TAXPAYER MONEY HAD ALREADY BEEN SECRETLY PROMISED ("Hard Wired" it is called) TO OBAMA'S, AND THE DOE BOSSES, FRIENDS, IN ADVANCE.
That is a felony violation of the law. A crime which FBI Director James Comey, and his staff covered up and which DOE Boss Steven Chu and his staff actively implemented. Our team knows this, as fact, because they reported directly to Comey, Chu and their offices.
It was not an 'accident', it was not an 'oversight', it was not 'an agency just overwhelmed with paper'. It was a precision controlled, coordinated organized crime effort designed to rape, both, the U.S. taxpayers and the non-crony applicants for these funds.
The crime used the traditional bribes, crony payola contracts, revolving doors, sex worker payoffs and other political corruption but it mainly used a new tactic called "Dark Money'.
Our team knows this because some of them were solicited to participate in these crimes and some of them had close personal relationships with the politicians who are now known to have operated these crimes. Some of our witnesses and insiders have been involved with the DOE since before 2000. They have 'seen it all'.
Companies, their executives and their investors were induced by California and New York Senators, White House Staff and the top staff of the U.S. Department of Energy to invest many years of their lives, and tens of millions of dollars of their personal cash in a fake government program which only existed to pay off Obama's political financiers.
American taxpayers were lied to and ruined by the U.S Department of Energy and their damages are increasing monthly. The DOE has NEVER apologized, NEVER offered fixes and NEVER provided the victims with anything other than 'Fusion-GPS' kinds of attacks on those who asked for help or who reported the crimes. The stone-walling, cover-ups and obfuscation that the DOE has engaged in has been historical in scope.
Here is one of the key processes under which these crimes were operated according to Tesla's own insiders: "...1.) Senator Feinstein, Reid or Pelosi gets Dark Money bribe from Elon Musk, 2.) Senator’s spouse or daughter buys covert stock in Tesla and the suppliers of Tesla via Goldman Sachs, et al., 3.) Senator makes law or exclusive ruling to give Tesla exclusive government cash and taxpayer resources, 4.) Tesla makes more Dark Money “campaign contribution” to Senator as follow-up bribes, 5.) Tesla has Goldman Sachs use free government cash to “pump-and-dump” Elon Musk, Steve Jurvetson, Tim Draper stocks which Senator, Governor, DOE and Obama staff covertly own. Senator, DOE execs and Obama execs make billions in windfall profits via Google’s PR hype of the stock. (Of course, none of this is reported to the FEC and the SEC), 6.) Senator and DOE staff black-list and sabotage Tesla's competitors from receiving the same government benefits or competing with Tesla, 7.) As soon as the crooks get all of their skims, they bankrupt Solyndra or Abound and make even more profits off of the dead Company by filing “Tax Loss” filings and take another windfall, 8.) DOE, IG, FBI and DOJ refuse to investigate the crime and run cover-ups because some of their bosses own stock in Tesla, Solyndra, Fisker, etc and the suppliers of those crooked companies, 8.) This same pack of crooks then repeats this cycle and they go out and do it all over again...."
This scam happened in 2008. History has proven that the DOE funds, since then, were rigged. Congress, the news media and special investigations have proven that these crimes happened. Nothing has ever been done to help the victims (over 100 companies and over 1800 individuals) recover from their state-sponsored losses.
What happened when the victims of these crimes reported the incidents to authorities? The Obama Administration ordered and operated attacks on the victims. Those attacks included the following reprisal, retribution and revenge efforts:'
- DOE solicited the victims with false promises and caused them to expend millions of dollars and years of their time for projects which DOE had covertly promised to their friends and were using the victims as a “smokescreen” to cover their illegal DOE slush-fund for the victims competitors and personal enemies.
- Social Security, SSI, SDI, Disability and other earned benefits were stone-walled. Applications were “lost”. Files in the application process “disappeared”. Lois Lerner hard drive “incidents” took place in order to seek to hide information and run cover-ups.
- DOE’s Jonathan Silver, Lachlan Seward and Steven Chu contacted members of the National Venture Capital association (NVCA) and created national “black-lists” to blockade Victims from ever receiving investor funding. This was also confirmed in a widely published disclosure by Tesla Motors Daryl Siry and in published testimony.
FOIA requests were hidden, frozen, stone-walled, delayed, lied about and only partially responded to in order to seek to hide information and run cover-ups.
- State and federal employees played an endless game of Catch-22 by arbitrarily determining that deadlines had passed that they, the government officials, had stonewalled and obfuscated applications for, in order to force these deadlines that they set, to appear to be missed.
- Some Victims found themselves strangely poisoned, not unlike the Alexander Litvenko case. Heavy metals and toxic materials were found right after their work with the Department of Energy weapons and energy facilities. Many wonder if these “targets” were intentionally exposed to toxins in retribution for their testimony. The federal MSDS documents clearly show that a number of these people were exposed to deadly compounds and radiations, via DOE, without being provided with proper HazMat suits which DOE officials knew were required.
- Victims employers were called, and faxed, and ordered to fire Victims from their places of employment, in the middle of the day, with no notice, as a retribution tactic.
- On orders from Obama White House officials, DNC-financed Google, YouTube, Gawker Media and Gizmodo Media produced attack articles and defamation videos and locked them on the internet on the top line, of the front page of all Google searches for a decade in front of 7.5 billion people, around the world, at a cost of over $40 million dollars in server farms, production costs and internet rigging. The forensic data acquired from this attack proved that Google rigs attacks against individuals on the internet and that all of Google’s “impressions” are manually controlled by Google’s executives who are also the main financiers and policy directors of the Obama Administration. This data was provided to the European Union for it’s ongoing prosecution of Google’s political manipulation of public perceptions.
- Victims HR and employment records, on recruiting and hiring databases, were embedded with negative keywords in order to prevent them from gaining future employment.
- Our associates: Gary D. Conley, Seth Rich, Rajeev Motwani and over 30 other whistle-blowers in this matter, turned up dead under strange circumstances. They are not alone in a series of bizarre deaths related to the DOE investiagtions.
- Disability and VA complaint hearings and benefits were frozen, delayed, denied or subjected to lost records and "missing hard drives" as in the Lois Lerner case.
- Paypal and other on-line payments for on-line sales were delayed, hidden, or re-directed in order to terminate income potential for Victims who competed with DOE interests and holdings.
- DNS redirection, website spoofing which sent Victims websites to dead ends and other Internet activity manipulations were conducted. All commercial storefronts and on-line sales attempts by Victims, had their sites hidden, or search engine de-linked by an massively resourced facility in order to terminate revenue potentials for those victims.
Over 50,000 trolls, shills, botnets and synth-blog deployments were deployed to place defamatory statements and disinformation about victims in front of 7.5 billion people around the world on the internet in order to seek to damage their federal testimony credibility by a massively resourced facility.
- Campaign finance dirty tricks contractors IN-Q-Tel, Think Progress, Black Cube, Podesta Group, Stratfor, Fusion GPS, IN-Q-Tel, Media Matters, Gawker Media, Gizmodo Media, Syd Blumenthal, etc., were hired by DOE Executives and their campaign financiers to attack Victims who competed with DOE executives stocks and personal assets.
- Covert DOE partner: Google, transfered large sums of cash to dirty tricks contractors and then manually locked the media portion of the attacks into the top lines of the top pages of all Google searches globally, for years, with hidden embedded codes in the links and web-pages which multiplied the attacks on Victims by many magnitudes.
Covert Cartel financier: Google, placed Google’s lawyer: Michelle Lee, in charge of the U.S. Patent Office and she, in turn, stacked all of the U.S. Patent Office IPR and ALICE review boards and offices with Google-supporting employees in order to rig the U.S. Patent Office to protect Google from being prosecuted for the vast patent thefts that Google engages in. Google has hundreds of patent lawsuits for technology theft and a number of those lawsuits refer to Google’s operations as “Racketeering”, “Monopolistic Cartel” and “Government Coup-like” behaviors. Thousands of articles and investigations detail the fact that Google, “essentially” ran the Obama White House and provided over 80% of the key White House staff. A conflict-of-interest unlike any in American history. Google’s investors personally told Applicant they would “kill him”. Google and the Obama Administration were “the same entity”. Applicant testified in the review that got Michelle Lee terminated and uncovered a tactical political and social warfare group inside Google who were financed by Federal and State funds.
- Honeytraps and moles were employed by the attackers. In this tactic, people who covertly worked for the attackers were employed to approach the “target” in order to spy on and misdirect the subject.
- Mortgage and rental applications had red flags added to them in databases to prevent the targets from getting homes or apartments.
- McCarthy-Era "Black-lists" were created and employed against Victims who competed with DOE executives and their campaign financiers to prevent them from funding and future employment.
- Targets were very carefully placed in a position of not being able to get jobs, unemployment benefits, disability benefits or acquire any possible sources of income. The retribution tactics were audacious, overt..and quite illegal.
How does DOE Dark Money work? Let's take a look:
Go to the top 6 search engines on the web and type this search phrase in: "trillions missing from government". Google is biased to the DNC, so use a few different search engines to try this research. What you will find are a massive number of credible reports from renown news organizations, universities and forensic researchers confirming the fact that an almost unfathomable amount of your hard earned tax dollars have simply disappeared into some sort of dark hole.
While a tiny portion of this missing money can be attributed to accounting errors, most of it was clearly stolen and hidden from view.
Who does such things and who has the organized criminal ability to engage in such crime on such a coordinated level?
The answer is: The Dark Money Operatives of your elected political officials.
The majority of the political laws, discussions and meetings that happen in your Senator's and Congress-person's offices are about those officials trying to put your tax dollars in the pockets of themselves and their friends pockets.
The money is going to either go to Democrats and their Dark Money financiers or to Republicans and their Dark Money financiers. YOU, as a taxpayer, are irrelevant. YOU are an after-thought. YOU are a distraction. YOU as a voter are a "necessary evil" that requires some showmanship by the politicians to make it look like they care while they rob you blind.
The corrupt Senator will use every opportunity to get on TV and in the news-print talking about catch-phrases like "immigrants", "schools", etc. but that is only hype to keep up appearances. At the end of the day, the entire political process is about moving YOUR cash from YOUR bank account to their friend's bank accounts.
In the politics of the United States, Dark Money is cash, search engine rigging, revolving door job payola, election supplies, sex providers and other compensations given to nonprofit organizations—and include 501(c)(4)(social welfare) 501(c)(5) (unions) and 501(c)(6) (trade association) groups—that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals, and unions, and spend funds to influence elections, but are not required to disclose their donors. Dark money first entered politics with Buckley v. Valeo (1976) when the United States Supreme Court laid out Eight Magic Words that define the difference between electioneering and issue advocacy.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, "spending by organizations that do not disclose their donors has increased from less than $5.2 million in 2006 to well over $300 million in the 2012 presidential cycle and more than $174 million in the 2014 midterms." The New York Times editorial board has opined that the 2014 midterm elections were influenced by "the greatest wave of secret, special-interest money ever raised in a congressional election."
The term was first used by the Sunlight Foundation to describe undisclosed funds that were used during the United States 2010 mid-term election. Its practical effect has been described by Donald Trump as Congress "being under the magical spell of the donors."
In some elections, dark money groups have surpassed traditional political action committees (PAC) and "super PACs" (independent-expenditure-only committees) in the volume of spending. In 2014, the group Freedom Partners was identified as the "poster child" for the rise of dark money. In 2012, Freedom Partners had the ninth-highest revenues among all U.S. trade associations which filed tax returns that year, more than "established heavyweights" such as the American Petroleum Institute, PhRMA, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Freedom Partners largely acted as a conduit for campaign spending; of the $238 million it spent in 2012, 99 percent went to other groups, and Freedom Partners itself did not have any employees. This was a major distinction between other high-revenue trade associations, which typically have many employees and devote only about 6 percent of spending to grants to outside groups.
The rise of dark money groups was aided by the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (2008) and Citizens United v. FEC (2010). In Citizens United, the Court ruled (by a 5–4 vote) that corporations and unions could spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against political candidates.
2010 election cycle
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, dark money (which it defined as funds from outside groups that did not publicly disclose donors, plus groups that received a substantial portion of their contributions from such nondisclosing groups) accounted for nearly 44% of outside spending in the 2010 election cycle.
In the 2012 election cycle, more than $308 million in dark money was spent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. An estimated 86 percent was spent by conservative groups, 11 percent by liberal groups and 3 percent by other groups.
The three dark money groups which spent the largest sums were Karl Rove's American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS ($71 million), the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity ($36 million) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($35 million), all conservative groups. Aside from a complex, and still highly covert network created by The Clinton Foundation, Media Matters and The Podesta Group, the three liberal groups with the largest dark-money expenditures were the League of Conservation Voters ($11 million), Patriot Majority USA, a group focusing on public schools and infrastructure ($7 million), and Planned Parenthood (almost $7 million).
The 2014 election cycle saw the largest amount of dark money ever spent in a congressional election; the New York Timeseditorial board described 2014 "the greatest wave of secret, special-interest money ever." On the eve of the election, Republican-leaning dark money groups dominated, with $94.6 million in expenditures, exceeding dark money expenditures by Democratic-leaning dark money groups ($28.4 million), and by expenditures that could not be classified ($1.9 million). Karl Rove's dark money group Crossroads GPS alone spent over $47 million in the 2014 election cycle.
In the Senate elections, dark money spending was highly concentrated in a handful of targeted competitive states, and especially in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, and North Carolina. In the eleven most competitive Senate races, $342 million was spent by non-party outside groups, significantly more than the $89 million spent by the political parties.
In the 2014 Kentucky election, a key player was the "Kentucky Opportunity Coalition," a group supporting Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, whom the New York Times editorial board has described as "the most prominent advocate for unlimited secret campaign spending in Washington." The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a 501(c)(4) "social welfare" group, raised more than $21 million, while McConnell raised about $32 million and McConnell's opponent, Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, raised about $19 million. According to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data provided by advertising tracking firm Kantar Media/CMAG, the group ran more than 12,400 television advertisements. Every Kentucky Opportunity Coalition's television advertisements mentioned either McConnell or Grimes; overall, about 53 percent of the group's ads praised McConnell while the rest were attack ads against Grimes. The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition relied heavily on political consultants in Washington, D.C. and Virginia linked to Karl Rove's Crossroads groups, and received $390,000 in a grant from Crossroads GPS. Described as "mysterious," the group was listed by a Post Office box, and the only name formally associated with the group was political operative J. Scott Jennings, a deputy political director in the George W. Bush administration, a worker for McConnell's previous campaigns. Melanie Sloan of the watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said that the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition was "nothing more than a sham."
Dark money also played a role in other competitive Senate seats in 2014. In ten competitive Senate seats, the winners had the following in dark-money support, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law:
|Winning Candidate||Dark Money
|Dark Money as %
|Thom Tillis (R-NC)||$22,888,975||81%|
|Cory Gardner (R-CO)||$22,529,291||89%|
|Joni Ernst (R-IA)||$17,552,085||74%|
|Mitch McConnell (R-KY)||$13,920,163||63%|
|Tom Cotton (R-AR)||$12,502,284||65%|
|David Perdue (R-GA)||$11,098,585||86%|
|Dan Sullivan (R-AK)||$10,823,196||85%|
|Pat Roberts (R-KS)||$8,454,938||78%|
|Gary Peters (D-MI)||$4,226,674||28%|
|Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)||$3,478,039||35%|
In North Carolina, the pro-Tillis group "Carolina Rising" received nearly all (98.7%) of its funds from Crossroads GPS; the Center for Responsive Politics highlighted this as an example of how Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) group, "evades limits on political activity through grants" to other 501(c)(4) groups. In the 2014 cycle, Crossroads GPS also gave $5.25 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $2 million to the American Future Fund, and $390,000 to the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition. In total, Crossroads GPS spent more than $13.6 million on grants to other groups, which it described as being for the purposes of "social welfare."
In 2014, the Democratic Party-aligned dark money group Patriot Majority USA, a 501(c)(4), spent almost $13.7 million on "direct and indirect political campaign activities," airing 15,000 television ads in targeted Senate races. About half of the $30 raised by the group came from five anonymous donors. The group was led by Craig Varoga, "a staunch ally" of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada.
In Alaska, Mark Begich was "one of the few Democratic candidates to come close to receiving as much support from dark money as his Republican opponent." The pro-Begich Alaska Salmon PAC, funded entirely by the League of Conservation Voters and its Alaska affiliate, spent funds in support of Begich.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, by October 2015, $4.88 million in dark money had already been spent for the 2016 election cycle, "more than 10 times the $440,000 that was spent at this point during the 2012 cycle." The money was spent by six groups - five conservative groups (including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $3 million, and Americans for Prosperity, which spent $1.5 million) and one liberal group (Planned Parenthood, which spent just under $75,000).
According to Richard Skinner of the Sunlight Foundation, "the focus of early dark money being spent in the 2016 cycle" is on competitive U.S. Senate elections and some U.S. House of Representatives races. However, dark money also is playing a role in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries; by June 2015, at least four Republican presidential candidates were raising funds via 501(c)(4) organizations: Bobby Jindal's America Next, Rick Perry's Americans for Economic Freedom, John Kasich's Balanced Budget Forever, and Jeb Bush's Right to Rise.
Comparison to (and relationship with) super PACs
|Super PACs||Dark-money groups|
|Type of entity||Campaign committee
(regulated by FEC)
(regulated by IRS)
|Disclosure of contributors required?||Yes||No|
|Disclosure of expenditures required?||Yes||Through tax filings (Form 990s)
(Typically delayed by year or more;
often submitted long after elections have ended)
|Limits on dollar amount of contributions?||None||None|
|Can be wholly political?||Yes||No
(political activity cannot be
majority of expenditures)
|Coordination with candidates?||Impermissible||Impermissible|
501(c) "dark money" groups are distinct from super PACs.While both types of entity can raise and spend unlimited sums of money, super PACs "must disclose their donors," while 501(c) groups "must not have politics as their primary purpose but don't have to disclose who gives them money." However, a single individual or group can create both types of entity and combine their powers, making it difficult to trace the original source of funds. ProPublica explains: "Say some like-minded people form both a Super-PAC and a nonprofit 501(c)(4). Corporations and individuals could then donate as much as they want to the nonprofit, which isn't required to publicly disclose funders. The nonprofit could then donate as much as it wanted to the Super-PAC, which lists the nonprofit's donation but not the original contributors." In at least one high-profile case, a donor to a super PAC kept his name hidden by using an LLC formed for the purpose of hiding their personal name. One super PAC, that originally listed a $250,000 donation from an LLC that no one could find, led to a subsequent filing where the previously "secret donors" were revealed.
During the 2016 election cycle, "dark money" contributions via shell LLCs became increasingly common. The Associated Press, Center for Public Integrity, and Sunlight Foundation all "flagged dozens of donations of anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million routed through non-disclosing LLCs to super PACs" backing various presidential candidates, including Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Carly Fiorina.
Bradley A. Smith, a former FEC chairman who is now with the Center for Competitive Politics, a group that opposes campaign-finance reform, argues that this practice is not problematic, writing that "it is possibly the making of a campaign contribution in the name of another," a violation of existing law.
According to Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation, "untraceable dark money is a preferred tactic of conservatives, while Democrats tend to use traceable super PACs."
The first federal law requiring disclosure of campaign contributions, the Federal Corrupt Practices Act, was passed in 1910. By the late 1970s, virtually all states and the federal government required public disclosure of campaign contributions and information on political donors. Most states and the federal government also required public disclosure of information about donors and amounts spent on independent expenditures, that is, expenditures made independently of a candidate's campaign.
In January 2010, at least 38 states and the federal government required disclosure for all or some independent expenditures or electioneering communications, for all sponsors.
Yet despite disclosure rules, it is possible to spend money without voters knowing the identities of donors before the election.In federal elections, for example, political action committees have the option to choose to file reports on a "monthly" or "quarterly" basis. This allows funds raised by PACs in the final days of the election to be spent and votes cast before the report is due.
In addition to PACs, non-profit groups ranging from Planned Parenthood to Crossroads may make expenditures in connection with political races. Since these non-profits are not political committees, as defined in the Federal Election Campaign Act, they have few reporting requirements beyond the amounts of their expenditures. They are not required by law to publicly disclose information on their donors. As a result, voters do not know who gave money to these groups. Reports have disclosed instances where non-profits were managed by close associates, former staff, or a candidate's family member, and this has led to concern that the candidates benefiting from their expenditures would be able to know who donated the funds to the non-profit group, but the public would not. 
For example, in the 2012 election cycle, one organization, the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, operated two non-profit arms that received millions in donations from just a few donors. It in turn funded several different PACs. While these PACs had to disclose that NOM contributed the funds, they were not required to disclose who gave money to NOM.
On March 30, 2012 a U.S. District Court ruled that all groups that spend money on electioneering communications must report all donors that give more than $1,000. However, this ruling was overturned on appeal.
Legislative and regulatory proposals and debate over dark moneyAccording to Columbia Law School's Richard Briffault, disclosure of campaign expenditures, contributions, and donors is intended to deter corruption.
The Federal Elections Commission, which regulates federal elections, has been unable to control dark money. According to the Center for Public Integrity, FEC commissioners are voting on many fewer enforcement matters than in the past because of "an overtaxed staff and commissioner disagreement." The IRS (rather than the FEC) is responsible for oversight of 501(c)(4) groups. The IRS "found itself ill-prepared for the groundswell" of such groups taking and spending unlimited amounts of money for political purposes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010. The agency particularly "struggled to identify which organizations appeared to be spending more than the recommended 50 percent of their annual budgets on political activities—and even to define what 'political spending' was." When the IRS began looking at nonprofit spending, it was accused of improper targeting in a 2013 controversy.
"With the FEC and IRS duly sidelined" advocates for disclosure turned to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); nine academics from universities across the U.S. filed petitioned the SEC in August 2011 for the agency to "develop rules to require public companies to disclose to shareholders the use of corporate resources for political activities." The petition received over a million comments in the following month, "a record amount for the SEC, with the overwhelming majority of voters asking for better disclosure." According to Lucian Bebchuk, a Harvard professor of law, economics, and finance who helped draft the petition, the request had drawn the support of "nearly a dozen senators and more than 40 members of the House." Under current SEC regulations, public corporations must file a Form 8-K report to publicly announce major events of interest to shareholders. The Sunlight Foundation, a group which advocates for a comprehensive disclosure regime, has proposed that the 8-K rule should be updated to require that aggregate spending of $10,000 on political activities (such as monetary contributions, in-kind contributions, and membership dues or other payments to organizations that engage in political activities) should be disclosed and made publicly available via the 8-K system.
In 2015, Republicans in Congress successfully pushed for a rider in a 2015 omnibus spending bill that bars the IRS from clarifying the social-welfare tax exemption to combat dark money "from advocacy groups that claim to be social welfare organizations rather than political committees."
Other provisions in the 2015 bill bar the SEC from requiring corporations to disclose campaign spending to shareholders, and a ban application of the gift tax to nonprofit donors. The Obama administration opposed these provisions, but President Obama eventually acceded to them in December 2015, with the White House declining to comment. The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center said in a statement that the dark-money provision ensures "that the door to secret foreign dollars in U.S. elections remains wide open through secret contributions to these ostensibly 'nonpolitical' groups that run campaign ads without any disclosure of their donors."
The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), chaired by former FEC chairman Bradley A. Smith, opposes legislation to require the disclosure of dark-money groups, saying: "Our view is that many people will be driven out of politics if they are forced to disclose their names and their personal information. The purpose of disclosure is to help people monitor the government, not for the government to monitor the people." The Center for Competitive Politics views "dark money" as a pejorative term, stating that the phrase "evokes an emotional, fearful reaction" and contending that "many of the statistics published on the topic aim to mislead rather than enlighten." The CCP maintains that dark money "comprises a very small percentage of total campaign spending," calculating the percent of money spent in federal elections by organizations that did not provide itemized disclosure of their donors as 4.3% in 2012 and 3.7% in 2014.
The U.S. Department of Energy was complicit in the processing of Dark Money payola cycling to Obama's financiers as a 'hand-on' operator of a RICO-class crime.
All of the ruckus with Donald Trump and California/DOE VS. Trump is almost entirely based on West Coast and New York corrupt senators, and their insiders, freaking out about their Dark Money organized crime payola scam coming apart and getting exposed.
DAVID BROCK IS LAUNDERING MONEY
FOLLOW THE MONEY
NOTICE WHAT HAPPENED?
IT DOESN’T STOP THERE
HOW CAN WE BE SURE THIS IS INTENTIONAL?
STILL NOT CONVINCED?
THIS BARELY SCRATCHES THE SURFACE