Next Act for Super PACs and Dark Money Nonprofits: Lobbying to Block Compromise on the “Fiscal

Brendan Fischer – Staff Counsel, Center for Media and Democracy

November 19, 2012 – 8:06am


After some early success helping far-right candidates in the Republican primaries, Super PACs, and dark money nonprofits failed to eke out many victories on election night 2012. But these groups are seeking to make up for lost ground by influencing policy through lobbying, issue advocacy, and the threat of attack ads against Republican legislators who compromise, particularly on negotiations over the “fiscal cliff.”

“We are expecting a fundamental shift of Super PACs, especially nonprofit groups, into lobbying entities,” said Craig Holman of Public Citizen.

The “dark money” nonprofits that spent millions in the 2012 elections are not required to disclose their donors, but also cannot have influencing elections as their primary purpose. As a consequence, Holman and other experts expect these groups to now spend a fortune on lobbying and issue advocacy.

Republican-aligned organizations like Club for Growth and David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity groups have already set their sights on negotiations surrounding the issue dubbed a “fiscal cliff” by deficit hawks and an “austerity bomb” by progressives, and will be urging Congress to embrace severe austerity measures and oppose any tax increases. And they stand ready to discipline legislators who do not comply.

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