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Biden’s Secret $64 Million Donor: Secrecy Swirls Around Benefactor in Deal Done to ‘Conceal From Voters the Interest and Agendas That Lie Behind the Money’

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Biden has faced criticism over the handling of the ongoing conflict in Gaza and immigration policies.

Jun. 5 2024, Published 2:30 p.m. ET

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Secrecy continues to swirl around a $64 million "dark money" donation from a single anonymous source that President Joe Biden's campaign received during his successful run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election, has learned.

Fox News first reported on the donation in 2023. Although it has been speculated that the money originated with a single wealthy Biden supporter, the best efforts of numerous investigative reporters and public interest groups have been unable to uncover the donor's identity.

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The donation was first received by the Impetus Fund, a 501c4 tax-exempt organization that funnels dark money into elections and political causes.

The donation was first received by the Impetus Fund, a 501c4 tax-exempt organization that funnels dark money into elections and political causes. The IRS requires a 501c4 nonprofit to promote social welfare as its primary function but does not require it to disclose its donors.

The money was moved to the nonprofit arm of Biden's Future Forward USA Action super PAC and later to the main campaign committee FF PAC. Although that committee is required to disclose its donors, the original source was shielded because the contribution came from the committee's own nonprofit.

Future Forward was then able to freely spend the money however it wanted as long as it did not explicitly coordinate its electioneering efforts with the Biden campaign.

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Throughout his presidency, detractors have often highlighted Biden's verbal gaffes and instances of him stumbling to argue that he lacks the mental acuity required for the role.

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CBS News described the donation's journey as "a kind of shell game that conceals from voters the interest and agendas that lie behind the money and messages — with each step further shielding the identity of the source."

"This kind of circular laundering of dark money is a very common operation now," Craig Holman, a campaign finance expert at Public Citizen who advocates for a more transparent system of election funding, told CBS. "It's a sorry state of affairs."

"Transparency is crucial for a fully functional government that is accountable to the people," said Anna Massoglia, editorial and investigations manager at OpenSecrets, a non-partisan watchdog organization that tracks the influence of money on politics.

"Without information about who is funding groups spending to influence elections, voters won't know who is trying to color their views, won't be aware of any potential conflicts of interest that a funder has or what stake they may have in the outcome of the election," she added.

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This criticism is the just the latest volley of public scrutiny directed at Biden, who at 81 years old is the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States.

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In September 2022, Biden advocated for the Disclose Act, which would require political groups and nonprofits to disclose donations above $10,000. "There's much too much money that flows in the shadows to influence our elections," he said at the time. "Dark money erodes public trust."

"For too long the left has been playing a game of decrying dark money while at the same time being fully dependent on it, even supercharging Mr. Biden's reelection campaign," said Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of the right-leaning government watchdog group Americans for Public Trust.

But Holman of Public Citizen argued that it's unrealistic to expect Biden to swear off dark money while other candidates, including Trump, continued to benefit from it: "That would be a big ask of Biden not to set up a super PAC and not to accept dark money."

"The stakes of this election are sky high," one Biden adviser told CBS News. "We will protect our democracy with every tool that is legally available." Another Democratic strategist added, "You don't show up at a gun fight with a knife."



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