When America was founded on July 4, 1776, it was meant to be the land of the free, a land of freedom and opportunity. Voting eventually became a tool to have a candidate with the majority vote in office. This was invented with the intention of giving America the freedom to vote, see changes for the better, and let us choose who we want in office. Along the way the wealthy got ahold of what is called ‘Dark Money’ and took advantage of our freedom.
The whole topic of Dark Money is a keyhole into the corrupt world of politicians, these politicians use their money and connections to have a leg up on the general public, does this sound like a just democratic system to you? Dark Money is described as an amount of income that isn’t taxed, this could be in many forms such as non profit organizations, politics, and betting money. Looking at Dark Money through the Conflict perspective lens is described as a struggle to obtain power, wealth, and money. This perspective will reveal the struggle the working class has to compete with when electoral events come up, such as the Koch Brothers spending hundreds of millions in the election to ‘better’ society, and see who they want in office.
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In the video provided Jane Mayer talked about the Koch Brothers, how much money they donated for political campaigns, the hidden history of the family, and how they think they are bettering society by giving so much money to political campaigns. Our group researched Dark Money and our foundation is the Koch Brothers, we researched this topic by looking at different types of Dark money such as nonprofit organizations, and how politics partake in Dark Money. We looked at reliable websites with data regarding how much money was donated from previous elections. We also watched the interview with Jane Mayer regarding Dark Money; she gave more of an insight with this topic and with the hidden history of the Koch family. One of the biggest things that we found throughout this project is how much of politics is dictated by Dark Money.
It was also surprising to find out how much a ‘normal’ citizen wouldn’t know about this topic as it’s considered taboo to talk about it, and hardly anyone is educated on this problem. Overall, this project has gone pretty smooth for our group. One branch of Dark Money is nonprofit organizations, these organizations are described as a group that doesn’t make a profit. Most nonprofit organizations help people, but a vast amount are hindering society. Nonprofit organizations don’t require the source of the donation funding, however, some organizations do reveal who and how much was donated (The Charitable Sector, “What is a Nonprofit?”). The nonprofit organizations have the immunity to take unlimited contributions. The IRS gave the option to the donor if they want to reveal if/how much they donate In reference to (“Political Nonprofits” (Dark Money)) the IRS has done little to nothing to enforce limits on how much a donor can donate to an organization or a person.
As a result of this, organizations that don’t disclose their donors reported in 2006 getting less than $5.2 million to over $300 million in the 2012 presidential election, and in the 2014 midterm election, more than $174 million was reported. However, California court cases are trying to make nonprofit organizations disclose the sources of money to prevent fraud (Carole, Levine “The Ups and Downs of Turning the Spotlight on Dark Money Donors”).
Non-Profit organizations also have a negative connotation on the economy such as having a direct impact on the government because of the loss of taxed money. Nonprofits also have a direct impact on rich people becoming richer, and poor people becoming poorer. According to (” Impact Of Black Money On The Economy”) lower income individuals don’t see their income rising, unlike the higher income individuals have a wide variety of unaccounted income as seen in the media on a fixed basis.
Voting is a privilege for all Americans, this astonishing act is shaping and forming our economy, and country to say the least. However, throughout our research we quickly realized the reality that we had complete control who got into office quickly crumbled. According to (“‘Dark Money’: Koch Brothers’ Donations Push Their Political Agenda”) The Koch family assembled what is called ‘Freedom Partners’ which is a direct deposit into candidates pockets. In 2016 presidential election cycle the Koch family gave close to $889 million to their candidate they were supporting.
It was said in the interview with Jane Mayer that the richest people in this country are choosing our next leaders no matter what the rest of our point of view is. This couldn’t have been put any more perfect, the Conflict perspective goes hand in hand with this, American citizens are fighting for bettering their country by voting for the best candidate but the wealthy already have us beat by giving millions to support the candidate the rich want. So in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter what the normal citizens want, it’s really a race to see what candidate gets the most money from the wealthy. From the very start of this project, I haven’t stopped learning about Dark Money and how it applies to everyday life. I learned about Dark Money in a whole, nonprofits, and how the wealthy control politics. What I will take from this project is how there are always loop holes for people with money, how much not just the Koch brothers, but the wealthy as a whole control who is in office and what laws get passed.