Colorado Dems have a plan to shine a light on dark money. Could it work?

Colorado Public Radio: Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold won her office last November with a promise to expose dark money in state politics. Now, the newly-elected Democrat is ready to switch on a sort of legal flashlight lawmakers built for just that purpose.

The question is whether it will work — or whether donors can easily evade the spotlight.

The Clean Campaign Act of 2019 is designed, in part, to reveal donors using nonprofits or other groups to pump millions of untraceable dollars into state-level super PACs. It also bans campaign contributions from any foreign country, individual or corporation and requires more “paid for by” disclosures on election messages.  

“Coloradans deserve to know who’s spending millions and millions of dollars to influence their votes,” Sec. Griswold said. “This legislation will add transparency. It really is a leading national model on how we tackle big donors, special interest, funneling money in secret into our politics.”

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, independent expenditure committees, better known as super PACs, took in about $80 million during the 2018 election cycle. The groups can raise unlimited sums of money for political advocacy, so long as they don’t contribute to candidates or coordinate with their campaigns.

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