David Frum October 4th, 2011 at 7:31 am 36 Comments
Who paid William McKinley’s presidential campaign expenses?
The short answer is: we have no idea. Prior to the 20th century, and especially prior the 1970s, campaign finance was the darkest secret of American politics. Money was raised in secret, often in very large amounts, and spent in ways often very difficult to trace.
For 40 years, the US tried to achieve a more transparent finance system. It proved an uphill struggle, now ending in failure. The dark mystery of anonymity is closing in again.
American Crossroads and an army of other conservative outside groups played a catalytic role in creating the GOP House majority — and this year Democrats in at least a dozen races say they are hiring staff earlier, raising cash faster and mapping out TV advertising plans sooner in an effort to fight back.