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Establishment Dark Money Swamps Alabama Senate Election

A tsunami of Republican Establishment funding and dark money political contributions is hitting Alabama in support of Luther Strange’s high-stakes contest against Roy Moore for the Senate seat once held by Jeff Sessions.

A non-profit group called “America First Policies” has said it will spend nearly $500,000 for pro-Strange digital ads, direct mail pieces, and get-out-the-vote phone calls in the week ahead of Alabama’s run-off election, BuzzFeed News reported. The group was started by President Donald Trump’s former campaign aides shortly after the inauguration.

Strange has raised at least $3.2 million dollars in this election cycle, nearly double the average for a Senate candidate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He finished second in last month’s primary against first-place winner Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  Most of that has come from large contributors, with less than one percent raised from small individual donors. Political action committees have donated nealy a million dollars.

Moore has raised just $459,807, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. More than a third of that came from small contributions and none from political action committees.

Outside money has poured into the race, which has become a critical battleground for the Republican establishment’s fight against conservative populism and economic nationalism.  The Senate Leadership Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have invested around a million dollars on behalf of Strange, as has the National Rifle Association. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and his allies have pushed big-money Republican donors to support Strange.

Because political non-profits such as America First Policies are not required to disclose their donors, the money they spend to influence voters is known as “dark money.”

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