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May 20, 2016

D.C. Consultants Get Windfall From ‘Dark Money’ Nonprofits

Much of the money funneled into election and issue campaigns via nonprofit “dark money” groups ends up with a handful of political-advertising and -consulting firms in Washington and its environs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In several cases, such 501(c)(4) social-welfare organizations, which are not required to disclose their funding sources, spent most or all of the money they raised on a sole lobbyist, strategist, or other political vendor, the center writes, citing the organizations’ tax filings.

In 2011, America Inc., an advocacy group that aims to “educate Americans about traditional and contemporary American values,” paid $2.4 million, 95 percent of its total outlays, to Creative Response Concepts, an Alexandria, Va., consulting office that does work for the Republican Party and other conservative nonprofits. All $3.7 million spent the same year by Americans Against Food Taxes, a beverage-industry-backed nonprofit that fights soda-tax proposals, went to Washington-based Goddard Claussen Public Affairs.

The article also identifies pro-Democrat and environmental groups that spent most of their money on single, politically oriented contractors.