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Biden’s $1.5B campaign haul reportedly helped by $145M in ‘dark money’

Raised record-breaking amount of untraceable cash from anonymous donors

Updated: January 26, 2021 - 1:44pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


President Biden 2020 presidential campaign was funded in part by a record-breaking amount of "dark money," cash collected from anonymous donors who are never identified, according to a new report.

While the cash was fraction of the $1.5 billion Biden raised and spent, the Democrat has long said that he supports transparency in political fundraising.

"Biden’s winning campaign was backed by $145 million in so-called dark money donations, a type of fundraising Democrats have decried for years. Those fundraising streams augmented Biden’s $1.5 billion haul, in itself a record for a challenger to an incumbent president, Bloomberg News reported.

The sum dwarfs the $28.4 million spent on behalf of his rival, former President Trump. And it surpasses the previous record of $113 million in anonymous donations backing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, Bloomberg wrote.

Priorities USA Action Fund, a super Political Action Committee, or PAC, that Biden identified as his preferred group for outside spending, used $26 million originally donated to its nonprofit arm, Priorities USA, to back Biden, Bloomberg reported.

Guy Cecil, chairman of the Priorities PAC, defended the move, telling Bloomberg in a statement that it wasn’t “going to unilaterally disarm against Trump and the right-wing forces that enabled him.”

Biden received $318.6 million from so-called "small donors," who gave less than $200 each.

The rest came from deep-pocketed contributors with who gave as much as $825,000 – split between the Democratic National Committee and 47 state parties, The New York Post reported.

Contributors can write eight-figure checks to super PACs and joint fundraising committees can bring in as much as $830,500, Larry Noble, a former Federal Elections Commission official, told Bloomberg.

And that's just what happened. Big donations poured into political nonprofits that then handed over the funds over to super PACs like Priorities USA – all without the donors being identified.

“The whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit,” Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, told the Post.