Colorado Independent - Peg advocates for dark money disclosure reforms

(8/18/18) Shannon Mullane and Burt Hubbard published an extensive analysis and discussion of outside spending in Colorado elections so far this year for The Colorado Independent. After reporting their research on large donors and industries behind major SuperPAC players this cycle, Shannon Mullane asked me about the impact of "dark money" spending (which is often anonymous or has most information shielded from disclosure to voters):

Beyond how ads affect candidates, Peg Perl, former special counsel to the transparency-minded group Colorado Ethics Watch, says that special interest groups can define the issues of the race and what candidates have to talk about by pouring money into ads about certain issues. And, she adds, the priorities of special interests may not be the priorities of voters. 

“If you’re feeling frustrated that your government isn’t passing the kind of laws that you want them to do, or they’re not doing the kind of policy that helps you or your community,” Perl says, “you want to know, ‘Who are they helping?’ and ‘Why are they helping someone else other than me?’”

The fix, Perl says, is a few changes to disclosure regulations like requiring a contact or top donors to be listed on advertisements – measures that would make a donor’s role clearer to voters on mailers and advertisements.

“You cannot ban outside money,” Perl says, “but you certainly can make sure voters know who is trying to influence their votes.”

Read the full article here.

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