Opinion | The Democrats’ Use of Dark Money: Is It Hypocritical?

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To the Editor:

“Denouncing Dark Money, Then Deploying It in 2020” (front page, Jan. 30) is one of many examples of attempts to gin up controversy over Democrats’ understandable reaction to Republican fund-raising operations.

The piece details, at length, the many “dark money” activities of both Democrats and Republicans, while characterizing the Democrats’ behavior as exposing “the stark tension between their efforts to win elections and their commitment to curtail secretive political spending by the superrich.”

Really? Is it valid to negatively judge Democrats for being forced to use dark money to level the playing field after Republicans’ long history of influencing elections with dark money? Dark money shouldn’t be legal, but it is. Until that changes Democrats can’t be held to a higher standard that puts their candidates at a serious disadvantage to Republicans.

Gail M. Bartlett
Chicago

To the Editor:

While your front-page story provided a great analysis of “dark money” spending in the 2020 election, it did not highlight who is working for and against regulation and transparency in campaign spending.

For the past three years, my organization has been part of the Declaration for American Democracy coalition, working to pass the For the People Act. This legislation will reduce the influence of money in politics and create more robust ethics rules for elected officials.

Almost every House and Senate Democrat has endorsed this legislation, and it has broad support from Democratic, independent and Republican voters. Conversely, every Republican member of Congress has voted against these bills when they’ve come up for a vote.

I encourage all of us, when writing about subjects that significantly shape our elections, to think about who is working for the people and who is standing in the way of change.

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