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.


More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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