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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson March 16, 2021

Anti-"dark money" provisions included in House-passed H.R. 1

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden pledged to target "dark money" by increasing transparency requirements in election spending.

Among the policies Biden promised are mandated disclosure of the funding for groups that advocate for or against candidates for federal office, and creation of a single website for online ads that discloses who paid for the ads and how they were targeted online.

These goals are addressed in the voting and elections bill known as H.R. 1, which has passed the House with no Republican support and now faces a tough road in the Senate, where it would need to attract at least 10 Republicans to move to a final vote.

Among the bill's provisions are the following:

• It would require any group that spends $10,000 or more on federal campaign advocacy to disclose contributors that gave the group at least $10,000.

• It would require online political ads distributed through major digital platforms to be posted to public databases that include targeting and payment information.

One part of Biden's promise that isn't included in H.R. 1 is the posting of this disclosure information on a "new one-stop website, ethics.gov."

Instead, H.R. 1 would require each advertising platform, such as Facebook, to post to its own database of the political ads.

Much would have to happen before H.R. 1 becomes law, but its passage by the House means that a lot of what Biden promised is moving through Congress. We rate the promise In the Works.

Our Sources

Text of H.R. 1

House roll call vote on H.R. 1

Email interview with Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and chief of staff at the Campaign Legal Center, March 15, 2021

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