Progressive Push to Ban Democratic Dark Money Is Dead

Pres. Joe Biden discussing a new contract for port workers at the White House on Wednesday.


(Jim Watson/AFP via Getty)

Progressive members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) say reintroducing a resolution to ban the use of dark money in Democratic primary elections is “not likely” during the committee’s bi-annual meeting next month.

One proposed ban failed twice in previous meetings when a bloc of progressive DNC delegates failed even to get a vote on the resolution – once last summer and again in February.

As TYT previously reported, Our Revolution Board Chair and DNC Superdelegate Larry Cohen, along with other progressive delegates, blame Pres. Joe Biden’s influence over the DNC for the dark-money ban’s failure to get past the DNC’s Resolutions Committee. The committee chooses which proposed resolutions will get debate and a vote.

In a text, Cohen told TYT that the submission of another resolution to ban dark money ahead of next month’s meeting is “not likely” because the “result would be the same.” The deadline to submit proposed resolutions is Thursday.

But Cohen also said that even without its past backers pushing it, a ban resolution could still be introduced because any individual DNC delegate can submit a resolution.

TYT reached out to DNC Secretary Jason Rae, whose office is tasked with tracking proposed resolutions, to find out whether any resolutions banning dark money had been submitted. Rae did not respond.

In June, Cohen told TYT that members of the Resolutions Committee were “handpicked by the White House with the DNC staff, not elected in any normal sense of the word elected.”

And as TYT reported last week, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison allegedly said that “his job is to protect the president.” The DNC has not denied that Harrison said it.

The allegation suggests Harrison is prioritizing Biden’s wishes over looking out for the best interests of the Democratic Party. If true, that could affect key DNC appointments and quash unwanted resolutions like the proposed dark-money ban.

Massive amounts of untraceable dark money campaign contributions, often from right-wing donors, have been used to upend the primary campaigns of progressive candidates, tipping the scales in favor of establishment Democratic candidates.

A resolution addressing dark money that was adopted by the DNC last September prevents corporate political action committees (PACs) from donating to candidates and bars lobbyists from donating to or fundraising for anyone they lobby. But a separate dark money resolution that previously failed to reach a vote calls for the DNC to investigate any use of dark money by Democratic candidate campaigns, which could result in disciplinary action against the candidate.

Last year, Biden did support legislation to disclose the biggest dark-money donors. That legislation, however, failed to get support from the GOP. And PACs supporting Biden’s campaign got $145 million in dark money donations during his run for president in 2020.

Campaign-finance tracking site reports that PACs supporting other Democratic campaigns got nearly $500 million in dark money during the 2020 election cycle – more than twice the amount that boosted Republicans. But some of that Democratic dark money has flowed to fights against other, more progressive Democrats.

Cohen told TYT that instead of continuing to push what they know will be a failed attempt at passing a dark money ban, DNC progressives are more focused on boosting progressive leadership within individual state parties.

The next bi-annual DNC meeting takes place in St. Louis, October 5-7.

TYT Washington Correspondent Candice Cole was previously a correspondent and senior White House producer for the Black News Channel and has worked at a number of local news outlets. You can find her on Twitter @CandiceColeNews.