In Record 'Dark Money' Election, Chamber of Commerce Top Shadowy Spender: Report

This election season, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is coming out ahead—as the number one dark money spender of 2014, watchdog Public Citizen revealed in a report released Wednesday.

“In a record year for dark money expenditures, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading the way,” reads the report, entitled , which is based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics analyzed by Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch. “The waves of non-disclosed money flooding elections threaten to disempower and discourage voters, making government less transparent and less accountable.”

The term “dark money” refers to funds spent to influence elections by 501(c) groups such as the Chamber, which are not required to disclose the sources of their funds. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision opened the door to unprecedented outside spending to influence elections, and as Common Dreams previously reported, 2014 is breaking records in dark money spending on Senate races.

“When large corporations decide they want to get their own candidates into office but they don’t want to be seen doing it, they call the U.S. Chamber,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, which houses U.S. Chamber Watch. “These politicians then push for anti-environmental, anti-consumer, and anti-health policies and priorities that hurt everyday Americans.”