On November 10, 2014, the Brennan Center for Justice released a new report, Outside Spending and Dark Money in Toss-Up Senate Races: Post-election Update, which describes the rise in spending by outside groups—many of which do not publicly disclose all of their funds’ sources—in eleven competitive races. Highlights of the report include:
After taking a moment for those facts to sink in, recall that a poll of 2012 voters found that 64% of voters said that “democracy was undermined  by big donors and secret money.” And, unfortunately, as the Brennan Center report illuminates, things are just getting worse.
But we can work together for a more inclusive, participatory democracy. The same poll of 2012 voters showed that 85% supported increased disclosure of outside money. A majority also supported public funding schemes. These two reforms that can be enacted right now.
Additionally, 78% of the poll’s respondents agreed that there was a need for reasonable limits of campaign spending. Such a proposal would require a change in the law. But there is an on-going effort to restore an understanding that the Constitution is meant to ensure a democracy that works for all Americans, not just the very wealthy.