How dark money impacted the 2016 Eric Greitens campaign

Posted at 9:48 PM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 23:17:05-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There's a lot of discussion around dark money and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens's 2016 campaign.

Dark money is money that has an undisclosed origin. Here's how it works.

Political action committees or PACs are required to share where its money comes from. Non-profit organizations do not. As a result, PACs are receiving major donations from charitable organizations and voters never know who made the initial donation.

UMKC political science professor Allan Katz said, "It's always a mistake to assume that campaign contributions per se, change the way people approach things. Unfortunately, there are instances where that does happen."

One example from the Greitens campaign is the PAC, SEALs for Truth. The group got a one-time, $2 million donation from the American Policy Coalition, a Washington-based nonprofit. It was the only donation SEALs for Truth received. The same day, SEALs for Truth donated nearly all of it to Greitens's gubernatorial campaign.

SEALs for Truth has to share where its money comes from, but the American Policy Coalition does not.

"We've developed a cynicism which says you got money from the NRA, therefore, you are pro-gun. The answer may be I'm pro-gun, that's why I got money from the NRA," Katz said.

He told 41 Action News that financial influence is more the exception than the rule.

"The part that I think everyone has to be careful about is because someone gives you, certain industries support your campaign, it doesn't mean that you sold out. What it means oftentimes is you already believed that anyway," Katz explained.

This is not a tactic used exclusively by one political party. Millions of dollars in dark money are donated to political candidates and surrounding political issues every year.


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