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Dark money is being used in Senate races in 2014

According to a report in the Huffington Post new and repurposed "dark money" groups are jumping into key Senate races this year. In five states -- Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and South Carolina -- the difficult reelection bids of incumbent senators have already been directly targeted or indirectly influenced.

Some dark money groups were running ads as early as last spring. Others have joined up with single-candidate super PACs and are gathering the needed cash to attack.

Nationwide, The Huffington Post has reported, dark money groups -- more formally, 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofits, which are not required to disclose donors -- havespent more than $24 millionso far on issue advocacy naming specific candidates ahead of the 2014 elections. A host of single-candidate super PACs, which are required to name their donors, have alsoemerged to promote individual candidatesin the 2014 elections.

Early evidence of the dark money push came last May with an adshowering praise on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) for "leading the fight against Obamacare." The spot was the work of the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a previously unknown nonprofit that operates as the dark money arm of the super PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership.

This super PAC-dark money combo is run by Scott Jennings, a former McConnell political director and onetime deputy to Karl Rove in the George W. Bush White House. It copies the dual form used by Rove in his Crossroads groups. Both parts of the combo can accept unlimited contributions, but one grants donors anonymity. MORE...



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