The Democrats’ Use of Dark Money: Is It Hypocritical?

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  • Trump’s Big ‘If’
  • Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, Taking Cancel Culture Too Far
  • Epilepsy and LEDs

  Credit…Mark Harris

To the Editor:

“Denouncing Dark Money, Then Deploying It in 2020” (front page, Jan. 30) is one of many examples of attempts to gin up controversy over Democrats’ understandable reaction to Republican fund-raising operations.

The piece details, at length, the many “dark money” activities of both Democrats and Republicans, while characterizing the Democrats’ behavior as exposing “the stark tension between their efforts to win elections and their commitment to curtail secretive political spending by the superrich.”

Really? Is it valid to negatively judge Democrats for being forced to use dark money to level the playing field after Republicans’ long history of influencing elections with dark money? Dark money shouldn’t be legal, but it is. Until that changes Democrats can’t be held to a higher standard that puts their candidates at a serious disadvantage to Republicans.

Gail M. Bartlett

To the Editor:

While your front-page story provided a great analysis of “dark money” spending in the 2020 election, it did not highlight who is working for and against regulation and transparency in campaign spending.

For the past three years, my organization has been part of the Declaration for American Democracy coalition, working to pass the For the People Act. This legislation will reduce the influence of money in politics and create more robust ethics rules for elected officials.

Almost every House and Senate Democrat has endorsed this legislation, and it has broad support from Democratic, independent and Republican voters. Conversely, every Republican member of Congress has voted against these bills when they’ve come up for a vote.

I encourage all of us, when writing about subjects that significantly shape our elections, to think about who is working for the people and who is standing in the way of change.

Alex Morgan
The writer is executive director of the Progressive Turnout Project.

To the Editor:

While it would be healthy for the nation to regulate or eliminate dark money, I cannot criticize Democratic large donors for preserving their anonymity. There was a fair chance that Donald Trump, the most vengeful president in my time and probably in the nation’s history, was going to be re-elected. He has an enemies list a mile long, and I don’t envy anyone on it.

Many of his supporters and fellow Republicans have been acting in like fashion. Respect for one’s opponents or their donors is a remnant of the past.

George Ubogy
Sarasota, Fla.

Trump’s Big ‘If’

“If I run and I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” former President Donald J. Trump said at a speech on Saturday in Conroe, Texas.Credit…Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Suggests He May Pardon Jan. 6 Rioters if He Has Another Term” (news article, Jan. 31):

Former President Donald Trump said at a political rally on Saturday night that if he wins the White House back, he may pardon people sentenced for the Capitol riot. He said they “are being treated so unfairly.”

These words are important on three levels. First, he’s seriously thinking about running in 2024. Second, stunningly, he would actually consider pardoning convicted insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

But most remarkable of all, perhaps, is that he said, “If I run and I win.” This man with a monstrous ego and narcissism said “if”! Who knew that word was even in his vocabulary?

It’s telling as he consciously and steadfastly remains to this day true to his “Big Lie” that he actually won the 2020 election. His “if” he wins in 2024 suggests that he knows, at least subconsciously, that he truly lost in 2020 and could do so again, if he runs in 2024.

When Mr. Trump rambles on long enough, the truth sometimes spills out, as it seems to have at this rally. Our truth is that it is incumbent on all of us who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 to not allow Donald Trump to ever disgrace the office of the presidency again!

Ken Derow
Swarthmore, Pa.

Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, Taking Cancel Culture Too Far

Joni Mitchell was honored by the Kennedy Center last year.Credit…Pool photo by Ron Sachs/EPA, via Shutterstock
Credit…Darren Hauck/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Joni Mitchell Plans to Follow Neil Young Off Spotify, Citing ‘Lies’” (Daily Arts Briefing,, Jan. 28):

So Joni Mitchell and Neil Young don’t want their music played on Spotify because it also carries “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Am I now supposed to follow their example and cancel my cable TV subscription because Spectrum carries Fox News, an even greater source of misinformation?

Once in a while, the radical right has a legitimate point about “cancel culture” going too far, and this is one of them.

Lawrence Peitzman
Studio City, Calif.

Epilepsy and LEDs

Deborah Turner of Columbus, Ohio, found that her local dollar stores didn’t stock LED bulbs, which could have saved her hundreds of dollars in electricity bills.Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

To the Editor:

“Obsolete Bulbs Fill the Shelves at Dollar Stores” (front page, Jan. 24) ignores a critical problem with LED lighting: It’s making many people seriously ill. I am one. I have epilepsy, and even the briefest glimpse of an LED light instantly throws me into a seizure. It’s incredibly dangerous for me to be anywhere near LEDs.

LED-triggered seizures have left me with broken teeth, bruises and excruciating pain that lingers for days. I need to be able to buy incandescent bulbs. I can’t enter LED-lit stores, doctor’s offices, hospitals or civic buildings. How am I supposed to live if no one can purchase incandescent light bulbs?

Super-efficient incandescent bulbs were developed but put aside by the industry in favor of LEDs. For the tens of thousands of Americans with light-reactive conditions, having access to incandescent bulbs is no mere “consumer choice”; it is a medical necessity.

MarieAnn Cherry
Cambridge, N.Y.

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