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December 18, 2014

'Dark Money' Groups Doubled TV Ads in State Races in 2014

Forty nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors collectively spent an estimated $25-million on television ads to influence elections for state office this year, producing nearly twice as many commercials as they did during the last midterm election cycle, according to an analysis of campaign spending data by the the Center for Public Integrity.

Politically active 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups were more successful in state campaigns than other independent political entities, backing the winner or bashing the loser in 63 percent of races in which they sponsored commercials. The activity involved mostly negative advertisements in races for offices ranging from governorships to the Arizona Corporation Commission. An organization called Save Our Future Now spent $1.4-million on ads attacking an ultimately unsuccessful candidate for that body, which regulates utilities and other businesses.