The Associate Press has reported two weeks after Secretary Clinton told a large (for her) crowd, “”the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money” must end, her super PAC, Priorities USA Action, accepted a $1,000,000 donation from an undisclosed source. In May, Carrie Levine from The Center of Public Integrity reported that the PAC spent nearly $275,000 over a two year period — beginning in early 2013 — to Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney. Most of that sum was spent after they left the super PAC. Almost all of Priorities USA Action’s payments to their Independence Avenue LLC went for “strategy and media consulting,” according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Viewers of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report understand better than people, who get their news from any other source, how “undisclosed” sources launder money through non-profit corporations to super PACs. While the latter must report the sources of contributions, 501 (c)(4) non-profit corporations do not. The June 29th $1,000,000 contribution to Priorities USA Action was channeled through another super PAC, Fair Share Action. That PAC received the donations from the non-profit Fair Share Inc. and Environment America Inc., according to disclosures filed with FEC.
Fred Wertheimer, director of the Washington-based Democracy 21, a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to making democracy work for all Americans,” said “This appears to be an out-and-out laundering operation designed to keep secret from the public the original source of the funds given to the super PAC, which is required to disclose its contributors.” Wertheimer encouraged Priorities USA to return the money and stated that Hillary Clinton should insist that the super PAC “publicly disclose all of the original sources of money” of any donations it receives.
Priorities USA spokesman, Peter Kauffmann, rejected Wertheimer’s suggestion saying the group is “playing by the rules.” That is true, but it is also demonstrating hypocrisy by supporting a candidate campaigning on the idea of ending the use of so-called “dark money.” Kauffmann added, “there is too much at stake for everyday Americans for Democratic groups to unilaterally disarm.” That would be “everyday Americans” like Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney and current Priorities USA Action staffers like Peter Kauffmann.
Senator Sanders, Secretary Clinton’s chief primary opponent has eschewed the use of super PACs. Today’s Boston Harold reports that Sanders is ahead of Clinton, 44-37 among likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire according to a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll. Maybe voters are waking up to the reality that money does not buy the best government and/or to the need for a political revolution in the United States to legalize democracy.