Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has been a prominent crusader against “dark money” in politics, but a new review of his donor ties reveal he might just be a hypocrite.
“‘Dark money’ has always been a political term meant to scare Americans into destroying their First Amendment free speech protections,” Restoration of America’s Hayden Ludwig told the Washington Examiner, calling out Whitehouse’s “hypocrisy.”
Recently, Whitehouse has been targeting Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito for alleged ties to “dark money.”
“Sen. Whitehouse is the walking definition of a hypocrite,” former Trump administration OMB general counsel Mark Paoletta told the Examiner. “He attacks Justices Thomas and Alito on made up ‘ethics’ charges, but he takes actions as a senator to directly benefit his wife’s organizations, crafting legislation that explicitly helps them, including pushing for taxpayer funding.
“If he were in the Executive Branch, he would be prosecuted for this unethical conduct,” Paoletta, a friend of Justice Thomas and his wife, added. “If he were a federal judge, he would be forced to recuse.”
Whitehouse has failed to get his DISCLOSE Act passed for years, but the Examiner reviewed the lawmaker’s own donors and found ties to the same “dark money” he has long sought to root out of “corrupt politics.”
“A toxic flood of dark money has given billionaires and special interests a powerful way to rig the system secretly in their favor — dark money even enabled these same interests to capture our Supreme Court,” Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a statement earlier this year. “It’s time to pass the DISCLOSE Act to end the corrupting influence of dark-money spending and make government work better for the American people.”
But the Examiner found the following ties to Whitehouse’s own “dark money”:
- $192,500 to his campaign and PACs from League of Conservation Voters, a environmental activist group, and
- $1,000 from PAC for the NRDC Action Fund, a left-wing climate charity.
Both organizations are 501(c)(4) tax-exempt “social welfare” entities, which are considered “dark money” groups because they do not disclose donors to the IRS, might fund election campaigns, and have potential lobbyist ties, according to the report.
Running Tide — a private company with no disclosure requirements, Capital Research Center’s Scott Walker told the Examiner — has spent more than $300,000 in the past year on issues related to carbon sequestration using deep water kelp.
Whitehouse is “the poster child for politicians with double standards,” Walter told the Examiner.
Also, Whitehouse’s wife Sandra Whitehouse has ties to the Ocean Conservancy charity, while Sen. Whitehouse has made environmental spending initiatives a priority as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
Whitehouse’s committee hired Erica Handloff as communications director after she had worked for Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a nonprofit whose donors “wish to remain anonymous,” the Examiner reported.
Whitehouse’s office did not respond to the Examiner’s requests for comment.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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