Biden Campaign Says It Will Continue To Accept Dark Money, Despite Previous Condemnations

Biden said dark money "erodes public trust" in elections. Then his campaign took "mystery" $64 million dark money donation.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 01: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park September 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Biden spoke on “the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation.”
Credit: Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

President Joe Biden’s 2024 presidential campaign said this week that the stakes for the upcoming election are “sky high” so it will again accept dark money donations despite previously condemning such donations. 

Biden’s campaign made the statement to CBS News as it reported on a massive $64 million anonymous donation that was sent to his campaign in 2020. The donation was routed to his campaign coffers through the Impetus Fund, a 501c4 tax-exempt organization that says it is focused on “social welfare.” 

This pledge to accept dark money comes after Biden previously said that dark money “erodes public trust” and that it “flows in the shadows to influence our elections.” However, like in 2020, Biden has again signaled he has no issue taken money that is routed to his campaign coffers without scrutiny.

“The stakes of this election are sky high,” a Biden adviser told CBS. “We will protect our democracy with every tool that is legally available.”

The focus on Biden’s acceptance of dark money comes with lingering questions about the mysterious $64 million donation. A large bulk of that donation, $55 million, was moved from Impetus to Future Forward USA Action, a nonprofit Biden super PAC. Then, Future Forward USA Action sent $60 million to Future Forward PAC for use in electioneering, CBS News reported. Since the money was sent to the nonprofit first, the donor/donors were shielded from exposure. 

Little is known about the D.C.-based Impetus Fund except that it says it “works with changemakers across the country to unlock a more inclusive, accessible, and vibrant democracy.” The group’s president, Ezra Reese, is tied to Democrat election lawyer Marc Elias. Reese is the political law chair at the Elias Law Group.

Impetus is a project of Arabella Advisors, a massive leftist dark money group that had about $3 billion on hand for the 2022 midterm elections. Back in 2020, it had $410 million that it used against former President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans.

Biden’s acceptance of dark money funding has drawn criticism from government watchdog groups.

“For too long the left has been playing a game of decrying dark money while at the same time being fully dependent on it, even supercharging Mr. Biden’s reelection campaign,” Caitlin Sutherland, the executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told CBS.

Anna Massoglia, the editorial and investigations manager at OpenSecrets, said that dark money hid important information about who was trying to influence American voters. 

“Without information about who is funding groups spending to influence elections, voters won’t know who is trying to color their views, won’t be aware of any potential conflicts of interest that a funder has or what stake they may have in the outcome of the election,” she said.

So far in the 2024 election cycle, Biden has held a significant advantage in fundraising, but Trump has been pulling closer in recent months with big hulls coming alongside his legal battles.

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