​Some Takeaways from the November 10, 2021: 

Discussion of Dark Money – Next Steps

Resources Discussed

  • Google the question: “When did dark money become common in American politics?” A long read, but very helpful, history of the legal approaches to donations since 1976. 

  • Use the civics lessons plan about dark money in politics.

  • Reviewing the websites (OpenSecrets.org & FollowTheMoney.org were helpful. Focus on Kentucky’s races and who has donated in past elections.

  • Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, share it. Maybe schedule a briefing by someone from their staff about how to access the data systems.

Action Items Suggested:

Action items focusing on education:

  • Study the campaign finance information at the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, share it. Schedule a briefing by someone from their staff about how to access the data systems.

  • Study what PACs are associated with each party:

  • Democratic: Kentucky Family Values
  • Republican:

  • Susan B Anthony’s List
  • Kentuckians for Strong Leadership
  • Putting Kentucky First
  • Commonwealth Policy PAC

  • Explore the history of public campaign financing in Kentucky, what happened, and where can we start to build on getting something in place?

  • Background & overview of campaign financing efforts
  • Current requirements in Kentucky on campaign finance.
  • History of Kentucky’s public campaign financing efforts

 Conduct educational campaigns showing the source and amount going to support a certain policy or person would let voters know how and why they are flooded with dark money-bought ads.

Compile information on the costs of dark money -- what is being left unfunded because of this?
Research the history and amount of money collected by the Democratic and Republican leadership committees together at the federal level, (House Leadership: Dems & Repubs.;  & by Senate Leadership Dems. & Senate Leadership Repub.) and what is history & amount of leadership PAC money  in Kentucky, for Senate Republicans, Senate Dems., House Repubs., House Dems. Nationally, money from Congressional leadership PACs (not required to disclose) is pouring in for the 2022 election.

Bring attention to the importance of local journalism and local newspapers:

Research the trends for independent investigative journalists’ profession and the future of small newspapers.
Get advice from the journalism community about what could be helpful.
Examine the types of free newsprint that's being provided in rural areas; explore the statements & determine when misinformation is being distributed.

Actions involving new legislation:

  • Require that all political ads include the names of individual and group donors who paid for them that might be a start. Defining “Political” would be the trick. 
  • Scrutinize local elections, prepare information about how costs of local elections have increased, study other state’s election disclosure laws to see how to strengthen ours.

  • Emphasize the need for legislation on term limits at the state and national level.


Meet again on Dec. 2, 7 pm.