PBS explores 'Dark Money' in politics

Sunday, 30 September 2018 12:00 AM Written by 

 

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PBS’s “POV” documentary series explores pay-to-play politics in the run-up to the 2018 mid-term elections. “Dark Money” (10 p.m. Monday, WQED-TV) tells a localized story in Montana with national implications as journalist John S. Adams investigates the real-life impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision.

Filmmaker Kimberly Reed said unlimited campaign contributions are problematic but anonymous spending is a larger problem.

Read more after the jump. ...

If we don't know where the money's coming from, then we don't know if there is quid pro quo corruption,” Mr. Adams said in July at a PBS press conference during the Television Critics Association summer 2018 press tour. “We don't know if politicians are literally being bought, that favors are being granted. Because if we don't know who is giving the money, we don't know if those same people are also the friends of these politicians or whatnot. And so, the anonymity opens up the door, in my view, to just wholesale corruption.”

Ms. Reed says “Dark Money” explores “the most bipartisan issue that we can find these days.

“What we showed in Montana was a group of Republican legislators who worked in conjunction with a Democratic governor to pass some of the strongest campaign finance laws in a state that may be a surprising spot for campaign finance reform to happen for most folks,” she said. “The architecture of our film happens to be with Republicans attacking other Republicans with dark money. One of them had a seat in the state senate and ran his own dark money group that he even used to attack other Republicans. So, yeah, that focus where it's an intraparty dispute keeps our own particular film from taking a partisan angle on this or turning it into bipartisan battle. And that's often where you see dark money spent: in primary elections which are intraparty by definition.”

 

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