Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Both parties have surreptitiously funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into local-sounding front groups designed to keep voters in the dark about the money's D.C. origins, a watchdog group alleged in a legal complaint on Thursday.

Why it matters: "Pop-up" super PACs are widely used by both Democrats and Republicans to steer cash from deep-pocketed national groups aligned with congressional leaders into key battleground contests. The practice has proliferated in recent years, and such groups are already popping up in competitive contests this year.

What's new: The nonprofit Campaign Legal Center says the practice is illegal, and it's filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

  • The complaint identifies 18 super PACs set up between 2017 and 2020 that received all or nearly all of their money from other super PACs. CLC said the sums at issue exceeded $200 million.
  • The goal of the tactic is to funnel money from a national organization affiliated with party leadership to local-sounding groups like Keep Kentucky Great, The Maine Way and Texas Forever.
  • The money for those pop-up groups comes from organizations like the Senate Leadership Fund or the Senate Majority PAC, super PACs affiliated, respectively, with Republican and Democratic Senate leadership.
  • CLC's complaint says the pop-up PACs and their funders violated federal election laws by failing to disclose their affiliations in official FEC paperwork.

How it works: Super PACs are required to regularly disclose their donors, so the pop-up groups' ties to national organizations like SMP and SLF can't remain secret forever.

  • Some groups, though, have found creative ways to put off disclosure until after key political contests by, for instance, timing donations to land in a post-election FEC filing period.

What they're saying: “Senior leaders of both parties have been steering money from wealthy special interests to front groups specifically designed to trick voters," said Adav Noti, CLC's senior director of trial litigation and a former FEC associate general counsel, in a statement on the complaint.

  • "Voters have a right to know when big money is flowing into their elections from D.C.-based groups hiding their agendas and funding behind fake names," Noti wrote. "The vast scope of this illegal concealment should prompt swift investigation and a firm crackdown by the FEC."

The big picture: Pop-up super PACs have grown in popularity in recent years, as elections grow more expensive and national party operatives explore new ways to finance politicking in key races. Some such groups have already emerged this cycle.

  • Republican Jake Ellzey, for instance, has received huge backing from a new super PAC called the Elect Principled Veterans Fund as he tries to best more conservative candidates in a House special election in Texas.
  • All of that super PAC's funding has come from another group, With Honor Fund, according to an FEC filing submitted on Thursday. With Honor Fund hasn't yet disclosed any donors this year. But in 2020, its top supporters were Michael Bloomberg and the parents of Jeff Bezos.

Go deeper

Oct 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: Dems’ NFT dreams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A group of Democratic operatives plans to turn political memorabilia and photos into NFTs, looking to raise money by minting — and then selling — digital assets beyond the sports and entertainment arenas.

Why it matters: With both conservative and liberal groups already spending millions to pressure lawmakers over President Biden's social safety net expansion, Democrats are looking to tap into non-fungible tokens to outraise their opponents.

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. envoy to visit Sudan as "most dangerous" crisis intensifies

The sit-in in Khartoum. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty

U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will visit Khartoum this week amid what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has called the “worst and most dangerous" crisis of Sudan’s transition to democracy, two sources with direct knowledge tell Axios.

Driving the news: Roughly 2,000-3,000 people had joined a sit-in in Khartoum as of this afternoon, per Reuters, after protesters massed over the weekend to call on the military to bring down the government. The protests came just four weeks after a failed military coup.