Dark, Scary Money (Video)

October 10, 2014   •  By Joe Trotter   •  
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Below is a transcript of Bradley A. Smith’s remarks on “dark money” at the AmericanForum: How we finance our political campaigns debate:

Let me talk first about this question of dark money that Ann raised at length. Dark money’s a nice name, it sound ominous and scary and that’s frankly that’s why the term is used. It’s probably the red herring in this debate.

So what happens is if the chamber of commerce buys an ad and the chamber of commerce doesn’t reveal everyone that donors and members they call that “dark scary money.” Now in fact I don’t think that’s a real problem to know who’s funding the chamber of commerce or what their issue is and even if we take that rather expansive definition we should recognize that it was about four percent of the money spent four and a half percent in 2012 and about 3.7 percent in this cycle through early September. I don’t know where the number 25 percent comes up from.

That is unrelated to anything that I’ve seen published by any sort. The second question is this question of corruption within the political system. And what I want to say is simply this, again remember this huge regulatory scheme was put there to stop corruption within the political system. And I think it has dramatically failed to do it. There are reasons why unfettered First Amendment expression fights corruption.

Who are they always complaining about? We know that the system benefits incumbents more than challengers and they are always complaining as they have here today about outside spending, independent groups. Well who is most likely to expose corruption and office holders? It’s challengers and its independent groups. There are reasons why everybody should be able to hear whatever opinions others want to throw at them and make those judgments. We always had complaints about too much money in politics they go back to the 1850s people were complaining there was too much money in politics. The fact is that system served us well and we’ll talk more about how it has. Thank you.

Joe Trotter

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