We may think about Washington and national elections when people talk about dark money, but it permeates state and local elections as well.
Voters probably know much less about the candidates in contests like that, which get little news coverage but whose winner will have enormous power to affect energy company profits and what homeowners pay for electricity. For a relative pittance â€” less than $100,000 â€” corporations and others can use dark money to shape the outcome of a low-level race in which they have a direct stake.
Over the last year, the Brennan Center analyzed outside spending from before and after the 2010 Citizens United decision in six states â€” Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts â€” with almost 20 percent of the nationâ€™s population. We also examined dozens of state and local elections where dark money could be linked to a particular interest.
We found that, on average, 38 times more dark money was spent in these states in 2014 than in 2006. Thatâ€™s an even greater increase than at the federal level, where dark money rose 34 times over the same period, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Compounding the problem was the growth in â€œgray money,â€ spent by organizations that are legally required to disclose their donors but receive their funding through multiple layers of PACs that obscure its origin.
The Washington Post has published more details about the Texas mother and gun, um, enthusiast who killed her daughters. The article includes this bit:
The Fort Bend County Sheriffâ€™s Office has not yet determined what led to the bloodshed Friday night, only that it began after a family argument. Deputies had responded to the home more than a dozen times in the past, reported the AP. A sheriffâ€™s office spokesman told People magazine the calls involved a â€œmental crisisâ€ related to the 42-year-old mother.
I wroteÂ last week that “severe mental illness” was behind only 4 percent of gun homicides in the U.S.Â This may be one of those. Without knowing more details it’s hard to say. But there appears to be no way to disarm someone exhibiting mental instability, and by disarming I mean taking their firearms away from them before they kill somebody. And doing whatever is necessary to be sure they can’t acquire more.
WaPo also says Donald Trump is a charity cheapskate. Not surprised.