The decade after Citizens United ushered in the rise of “grey money” groups that disclose only some of their donors. Partially-disclosing political groups were practically nonexistent before 2010 and have increased most cycles since. Nonprofits and secretive shell companies began to funnel money to super PACs. Although super PACs are required to disclose their donors, that information doesn’t go beyond the name and address of a nonprofit or company, in many cases leaving the true source of money hidden.
Grey and dark money spending by groups that don’t fully disclose donors has exceeded $2 billion since Citizens United. That only includes spending that is reported to the FEC, such as independent expenditures and electioneering communications. It doesn’t include millions of dollars spent on issue ads meant to boost or weaken candidates before election season draws near.
The FEC has proved powerless in the battle against dark money.Congress has also failed to pass dark money legislation.