OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics): It’s no surprise money can play an important role in winning elections, but where that money comes from is often difficult to ascertain.
One example of this “dark money” influence can be found in the results of the Colorado state House of Representatives election last year. All 65 district spots were up for grabs and in the end the Democrats remained in the majority, securing three additional seats.
Eighteen Democratic candidates in the Colorado elections received monetary support from Common Sense Values, an independent expenditure committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. Of the candidates who were favored by this IE committee, nearly three-fourths of them won their respective elections.
The Democratic candidates who received the most support were Rep. Jeff Bridges (more than $202,000); Rep. Thomas “Tony” Exum, Sr. (nearly $190,000); and Rep. Barbara Hall McLachlan (almost $160,000). They represent Colorado’s third, 17th and 59th districts, respectively.
According to the Colorado state campaign finance disclosure website, the Common Sense Values IE committee was started in August 2016 and then terminated the following December after the election was over. In just a few short months, it raised nearly $2.6 million and spent the vast majority of that supporting or opposing candidates in the Colorado House elections, with the remainder going toward “consultant and professional services,” among other items.
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