Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse invited three witnesses who work for “dark money” groups to testify against “dark money” in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.
The three witnesses Whitehouse called for the hearing were Ben Jealous, the president of People for the American Way, Michale Klarman from the advocacy group Take Back The Court and Lisa Graves of the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
All three organizations receive “dark money” funding, according to the outlet.
“Dark money” refers to undisclosed donations or financial contributions made to a particular person or entity, such as a non-profit, with the intent of influencing political outcomes, according to The Center for Responsive Politics. (RELATED: Joe Biden Rode Record-Breaking ‘Dark Money’ Donations Into The White House)
People for the American Way and Take Back The Court do not reveal who their donors are, reported The Free Beacon.
The Center for Media and Democracy discloses information about some of its financial contributors, but the organization receives significant funding from entities known to be less transparent about contributions, according to The Free Beacon.
The hearing, “What’s Wrong with the Supreme Court: The Big-Money Assault on Our Judiciary,” which took place 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, is part of Whitehouse’s efforts to promote his Amicus Act, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The proposed legislation will force the Supreme Court to rewrite its rules concerning third-party groups, such as non-profits, who present briefs to the Court on a particular case.
Current SC rules, namely 37.6, require those preparing such briefs to disclose if any party in the case “authored” or “made a monetary contribution” to its preparation. The bill calls for expanding those transparency requirements.
The Amicus Act, if passed, will require those filing amicus briefs more than two times to be transparent about everyone contributing towards the briefs’ preparation, including donors.
“It’s impossible to take Senator Sheldon Whitehouse seriously on the issue of dark money when liberal groups raise, spend, and benefit from more dark money than other organizations,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of the group Americans for Public Trust, told The Free Beacon.
“As he rails against conservatives, liberal organizations such as the ACLU and NAACP are fighting in court to protect donor privacy. Mr. Whitehouse may have a gavel and chair, a subcommittee, but he’s living in a world all his own,” Sutherland added.