09.17.12 8:45 AM ET
The Rise of the Political Nonprofit
by Michael Keller
Non-profit groups have become an increasingly potent force in American politics with 501(c)(4) social welfare groups in particular spending millions this cycle; but this didn’t happen overnight. A series of court cases has granted non-profits more rights in recent years and led to explosive growth in so-called dark money: anonymous dollars that can be spent directly on politics while being exempt from real-time disclosure.
Working with the Center for Responsive Politics, we’ve charted out the evolution of these groups’ spending as a result of several court decisions over the past decade.