Dark money in the U.S. government is what Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse calls a “raging prairie fire.” And the person he believes can throw some water on it, won’t. That person is Mitch McConnell.
“He’s now the spigot for dark money in Senate races,” Whitehouse tells Molly Jong-Fast on this episode of The New Abnormal.
He explains that when Citizens United passed in 2010, reversing restrictions that prevented corporations from financially backing politicians and influencing campaigns, “the fossil fuel industry was able to essentially flood the Republican party with money.”
It’s for this reason that he believes McConnell won’t back legislation in the Senate to stop those transactions from happening. It’s working for his party.
“It’s been dark money-funded groups that have put out fake climate denial news, that have propped up fake climate scientists, and that have rewarded climate denial politicians. And punished Republicans who tried to get sensible on this subject,” he says.
“We’re now at a stage where there’s often more dark money spent by groups in a race than there is by the actual campaign itself. So if you are a person who can control a $20 or $30 million spend into a Senate race, you are absolutely essential to that senator and around his caucus. Mitch McConnell becomes indispensable as the spigot,” he adds.
Passing a bill to stop dark money transactions, or at the very least exposing those who accept dark money, isn’t impossible, but Whitehouse breaks down two things that need to happen first.
He also talks about a potential climate change bill and another potential obstacle the Democrats see: Sen. Joe Manchin.
“We have from now until September 30th to move that wagon outta the Senate and get something over to the House,” he says.
Also in the episode, author and veteran Wes Moore joins the show to talk about his campaign to become governor of Maryland. One thing stands out for sure—and it’s that he’s the only candidate with an associate’s degree vying for the position. He’s proud of that.
“I needed to go to a junior college to find my way. And it was perfectly fine,” he says. In fact, that experience is driving his campaign promise to create more “work, wages and wealth” in Maryland.