Dark Money, an Official Selection at Sundance Film Festival 2018, is a political thriller that examines the effects of hidden corporate money on U.S. elections and elected officials. Filmmaker Kimberly Reed was born in Helena, Montana and her interest in the topic of dark money began when she was following Montana’s ban on corporate spending in a U.S. Supreme court case. The justices struck down the law in Montana and opened elections to “dark money.”
Montana Changes Laws to Crack Down on Dark Money
Since that time, Montana has changed its laws to crack down on corrupt politics and “dark money.” Politicians on both sides of the aisle were able to identify this threat to democracy and make necessary changes. Montana has now moved into the spotlight in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide. The film follows an intrepid local journalist, John Adams, who has worked tirelessly to expose the real-life impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Listen here to Joy LaClaire’s interview with Kimberly Reed on her KZYX radio show, Forthright Radio.
The End of Dark Money in Montana
Montana has a rich history of corporate and environmental exploitation. Politician William A. Clark’s election in 1899 became a scandal with the discovery that he bribed members of the Montana State Legislature in return for votes. He was quoted as saying: “I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale.” In recent history, Billings Republican candidate, Debra Bonogofsky became suspicious when her election was thwarted by last minute inaccurate, malicious ads and mailings, whose sources could not be traced. She filed suit with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices. Today, Montana has developed a strong culture of holding elected officials accountable for their actions, and is a model for the rest of the country. Through this gripping story, Dark Money uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold.