Election spending and the role of “dark money” in North Dakota politics

Whether dark money is a problem in North Dakota depends on who you ask.

“Absolutely there’s problems with transparency in elections here,” Ellen Chaffee, a proponent of the Ethics Commission, said.

“I don’t think dark money is a real problem in North Dakota,” Bismarck Republican Sen. Dick Dever said.

Dark money refers to political spending by nonprofit groups that don’t have to disclose where it got its funds, only how it’s spending those funds. It’s typically done through independent expenditures, or money used to influence a campaign.