In light of cases like Citizens United, in light of McDonnell, disclosure is really one of the few tools that we have left that enjoys the endorsement of the Supreme Court. However, even though the Supreme Court has always upheld disclosure when the question has come before it, more than 800 million dollars in funds from nontransparent sources have been spent in federal elections due to lax enforcement and [regulatory] loopholes. And that so-called “dark money” is fighting any attempts to bring disclosure. One of its tools in that fight is an unlikely source, a decision from 1950s Alabama protecting the NAACP from lynch mobs. Dark money groups comparing themselves to civil rights heroes in Alabama under Jim Crow are arguing that that case, the NAACP case, grants them the right to spend limitless amounts of money in campaigns without any disclosure.

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