New York Daily News

Dark money helped get Joe elected

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WASHINGTON — President Biden benefited from a record-breaking amount of donations from anonymous donors to outside groups backing him, meaning the public will never have a full accounting of who helped him win the White House.

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.

That amount of dark money dwarfs the $28.4 million spent on behalf of his rival, former President Donald Trump. And it tops the previous record of $113 million in anonymous donations backing Republican presidenti­al nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

Democrats have said they want to ban dark money as uniquely corrupting since it allows supporters to quietly back a candidate without scrutiny. Yet in their effort to defeat Trump in 2020, they embraced it.

For example, Priorities USA Action Fund, the super political action committee that Biden designated as his preferred vehicle for outside spending, used $26 million in funds originally donated to its nonprofit arm, called Priorities USA, to back Biden. The donors of that money do not have to be disclosed.

Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA, was unapologet­ic. “We weren’t going to unilateral­ly disarm against Trump and the right-wing forces that enabled him,” he said in a statement.

Campaign finance laws, in theory, are supposed to limit the influence big money has over politician­s. But the system has gaping loopholes, which groups backing Biden and other candidates, have exploited.

“He benefited from it,” said Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission.

A Biden spokesman did not immediatel­y respond to attempts to seek comment.

His campaign called for banning some types of nonprofits from spending money to influence elections and requiring that any organizati­on spending more than $10,000 to influence elections to register with the FEC and disclose its donors.

Biden raised more than $1 billion for his campaign, which can accept donations of up to $2,800 per election from individual­s. That included $318.6 million from donors who gave less than $200 each.

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