DNC to Hold Rare Vote on Dark Money

Progressive DNC member “cautiously optimistic” that dark-money resolution will pass

DNC Delegate Jeri Shepherd, seen in a Feb. 27, 2021, Our Revolution Colorado livestream, sponsored Saturday's DNC resolution on dark money.



The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will vote Saturday on a resolution discouraging the use of dark money in Democratic primaries, according to a progressive member of the DNC.

This marks the first time that an anti-dark money resolution will get a DNC vote since a similar resolution failed twice at two previous DNC bi-annual meetings.

DNC Delegate Jeri Shepherd told TYT that her resolution survived the DNC’s Resolutions Committee by a voice vote Thursday, the start of the three-day fall meeting, with “nobody objecting to it.”

The Resolutions Committee is responsible for killing the previous dark-money resolution that was introduced by a progressive bloc of DNC reformers, which Shepherd is also part of.

If Shepherd’s resolution passes, it could mark a significant moment in longstanding tensions between the party’s establishment and progressive wings. TYT and others have reported on the influence of Pres. Joe Biden on DNC leadership, and the squelching of popular, progressive action within the party.

Shepherd’s resolution, however, does not go as far as the squelched dark-money resolutions went.

TYT reported last month that Shepherd, in a last-minute bid to fight dark money, was submitting her resolution. Hers also calls for reversing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which freed corporations and unions to spend unlimited cash in political races.

“I wasn't sure what would happen to be honest,” Shepherd said. “But I was pleased to see that there is a trend towards paying attention to issues that are important to our grassroots base.”

The resolution will be brought before the entire DNC body for a vote on Saturday. Shepherd says she’s “cautiously optimistic” that it will pass.

“We can see what happens on Saturday. But I think we're seeing a focus on what we want – actual real issues,” said Shepherd. “We don't want shadowy types like those who are funding the Supreme Court takeover like Leonard Leo – we don't want them driving the agenda. We want the people's needs being met driving the agenda.”

Since the Supreme Court ruling, shadow donors have donated massive amounts of undisclosed dark money to political action committees (PACs). Some of it, from right-wing donors, has gone to undermine the primary campaigns of progressive candidates facing establishment Democrats.

The DNC did adopt a resolution last year that calls on Congress to pass the Disclose Act – a bill supported by Biden that would’ve disclosed dark money’s biggest donors. The DNC also pledged its support for rejecting corporate dark-money PAC donations and barring lobbyists from donating to or fundraising for anyone they lobby.

But a separate resolution for the DNC to investigate dark-money spending in primaries, and impose disciplinary action, failed to get a vote during the DNC’s summer 2022 and winter 2023 meetings.

Biden reportedly benefited from $145 million in dark money given to PACs supporting his 2020 run for president.

And as campaign-finance tracking site OpenSecrets.org reports, PACs supporting other Democrats got nearly $500 million in dark money during the 2020 election cycle – more than twice the amount that boosted Republicans. Some of that, however, was the right-wing dark money that’s gone to thwart progressive Democratic challengers.

As TYT previously reported, Our Revolution Board Chair and DNC Superdelegate Larry Cohen and other progressive DNC members have long blamed Biden’s influence over the DNC for the previous failures of resolutions addressing the use of dark money.

Shepherd says she’s not sure what brought on the change of heart by the Resolutions Committee, but suggested the DNC may be trying to listen more and move toward transparency.

“It may just be that at this particular moment, we realize the value of standing for transparency, of standing for advocacy on issues that help us and dark money gets in the way of that,” said Shepherd.

The DNC is set to vote on all resolutions on Saturday morning.

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.