The DonorsTrust, a 501(c)(3) "charity" that supports conservative groups, took in $1 billion in 2012, including two anonymous gifts of $425 million each. These are among the largest political donations ever.
DonorsTrust used those funds to support a variety of conservative causes. All in all, it spent $192 million last year and entered 2022 with $1.5 billion in assets. It is not known who any of the donors are or how much money the group spent in 2022. One thing the CEO of DonorsTrust did say is that in 2021 school closings and lockdowns were very harmful to the country, so DonorsTrust did what it could to minimize the harm. He didn't explain how. It could be running ads or lobbying against school closings and lockdowns, for example. Conservatives didn't like any of the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 because they infringed on peoples' rights to spread deadly diseases.
The left also has dark money groups, but they are much smaller. The Sixteen Thirty Fund, for example, took in $191 million in 2021. The good news is that it was in cash and not Bitcoin.
The donations to DonorsTrust may have had an ulterior motive besides helping conservatives. One of the $425 million gifts was not in cash, but in stock. If the stock had appreciated, by donating it to a 501(c)(3), the donor will escape capital gains taxes. Some rich people hate paying taxes so much that they prefer to give away their money than pay taxes on it.
Organizations classified as 501(c)(3) may not run ads directly supporting or opposing candidates for office, but they can be involved in election-related activities like redistricting, "educating" the public on issues, and doing election integrity monitoring (which in practice tends toward voter intimidation). (V)