WaPo analysis highlights dark money hypocrisy
Dark money groups have silently influenced election campaigns for many years but now some are complaining because it appears the tables have turned. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler highlighted remarks from political action committees (PACs) raising concerns about U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown.
On February 4, the Judicial Crisis Network released an ad that included a voiceover that said:
The U.S. Supreme Court’s “justices were to uphold the Constitution, to be above politics. Now, that legacy is being tarnished by secret money from liberals … a record amount of dark money, over a billion, put them [Democrats] in office, so they will put up an Arabella judge, a liberal activist, a Biden rubber stamp.”
ICYMI: JCN launched a $2.5M campaign calling out the liberal dark money network led by Arabella Advisors that helped get Joe Biden elected, pressured Justice Breyer to retire, and is now seeking to replace him with a rubber stamp for their unpopular and far-left political agenda.pic.twitter.com/Ivh3d2DBNZ— JCN (@JCN) 1644012845
Then, on February 25, American Rising Squared tweeted, “Dark money groups, including Demand Justice, have been pushing Ketanji Brown Jackson for a SCOTUS spot for over a year. Once again, Joe Biden delivered for dark money groups and their wealthy donors.”
While it's not surprising that Republican conservatives are sounding off about the possibility of a Black woman joining the Supreme Court, Kessler highlighted the real problem with the groups' complaints: hypocrisy. According to Kessler, the same group complaining about Brown is actually funded by dark money themselves.
"What do the Judicial Crisis Network and American Rising Squared have in common?" Kessler asked, adding, "They are both 'dark money' groups complaining about the influence of dark money — when it comes from the other side of the political spectrum."
Offering facts about both groups, Kessler explained the pipeline funding both organizations.
"The conservative Judicial Crisis Network works to fill judicial vacancies across the country, including in state supreme courts and appellate courts. It received $17.9 million in 2016 and $17.1 million in 2017 from an undisclosed donor (or maybe two). It then turned around and used that money (and other contributions) to fight against the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 ($7 million) and for the nominations of Neil M. Gorsuch ($10 million), Brett M. Kavanaugh ($10 million) and Amy Coney Barrett ($10 million)."
Kessler also noted the problem with American Rising Squared and its own hypocrisy. "American Rising Squared’s tweet at least just focuses on Demand Justice," Kessler wrote. "But still, it’s another example of a conservative dark money group complaining about dark money."
He concluded with his take on the level of hypocrisy expressed between both organizations. "We can only marvel at the hypocrisy of these attacks. Perhaps the point is that only liberal dark money is a bad thing," Kessler wrote. "But if these groups are going to air such complaints, they need to disclose they engage in the same practice of collecting huge sums of money without revealing donors. They earn an upside-down Pinocchio — which is ordinarily for flip-flops — for their hypocrisy."
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