When donors give money directly to a campaign, political party, or super PAC, their names and the amounts they have given must be disclosed.
But dark money is different.
It comes from groups—typically limited liability corporations (LLCs) or politically active nonprofits—that do not have to disclose their donors. As a result of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2007 and 2010, those groups can receive unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations, and other organizations.
They can then use that money to pay for television ads and other efforts to influence voters. Often the public doesn't know who is funding those efforts or why they are trying to affect the outcome of an election. That’s why it’s called “dark money.”