What would you call an election in which over 95 percent of campaign spending is funded by groups that publicly disclose the names and addresses of their donors to the Federal Election Commission, along with information on donors’ employers and occupations?

The Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal calls it “the dark money election.” The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political contributions and spending, writes in The Daily Beast that “the 2014 election cycle is on track to be the darkest election in recent history.”

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Hyperbolic coverage of so-called “dark money” is nothing new, but the latest claims are beyond absurd. In fact, there is more disclosure today than ever in our nation’s history. The reason “dark money” is on the rise is because all political spending is on the rise. Campaigns are still dominated by entities that fully disclose donors such as candidates, political parties, political action committees (PACs), and independent expenditure-only committees (Super PACs).

These entities have spent over $1.7 billion on federal races so far this cycle, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics ($799 million by candidates, $588 million by parties, and roughly $357 million by independent spenders, such as 527s and Super PACs). So-called “dark money” – which stands at around $75 million – comprises just 4.3 percent of all campaign spending.

Yes, 4.3 percent. That’s what some are deeming the “darkest election in recent history.” It’s quite obviously not. The 2012 cycle actually finished with the same percentage of “dark money” spending – 4.3 percent.

Even that number is misleading, because we know what organizations spent the money, which is fully disclosed. Many of the top spenders are well-known organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, National Rifle Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Dark money” is relegated to a supporting role in American politics because the law requires any group that spends half or more of its budget advocating for candidates to disclose its donors. Donors seeking to influence elections don’t want half of their contributions to go towards something else, creating a powerful incentive to contribute to organizations that disclose. It’s a key reason the “dark money” ratio is unlikely to rise much, if at all.

This fact hasn’t quieted outlandish rhetoric over what amounts to less than 5 percent of political spending. And while transparency is popular, declaring that 95 percent disclosure is not good enough is truly radical.

In other areas of life, we understand that a goal of 100 percent is simply asking too much, and that we are likely to waste resources and cause unintended harm in pursuit of perfection. Policies like “No Child Left Behind” have been heavily criticized for setting goals of 100 percent proficiency.

Yet all too often, activists assume that the goal of disclosure should be 100 percent - ‘No Donor Left Behind.’ I guess they forgot the famous saying, “all things in moderation.” Pushing from 95 percent to 100 percent disclosure would be tremendously costly to enforce and would harm the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, political participation, privacy, and robust public debate.

Studies have shown that disclosure makes people less willing to donate. That may be an acceptable burden for those giving to campaign organizations, but for multi-purpose organizations like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or the Sierra Club, the loss of donations would seem to outweigh the benefit of marginally expanding disclosure.

Disclosure of these donors would also provide misleading information to voters. While donors to candidates, parties, and PACs know that their contributions will be spent on politics, the same is not true for donors to multi-purpose organizations. You can support the AARP without endorsing all of its political views.

Such “junk disclosure” associates donors with messages they are likely unaware of or may even oppose. If a group spends just 10 percent of its budget on political advocacy, it would clearly be unreasonable to claim all of its donors gave for that purpose. As long as such spending occurs, however, there will always be “dark money” in the system.

The only way to completely eradicate “dark money” would be to prohibit these entities from ever speaking about candidates or to require disclosure of donors to nearly every kind of organization, which would irreparably harm charitable, educational, and social welfare organizations. No country that values freedom of speech or civic engagement should tolerate either course of action.

As it is, the current rules create little difficulty in identifying the major supporters of politically active groups, whether it’s the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson on the right, or George Soros and Tom Steyer on the left. Far from a crisis, a small portion of “dark money” spending is a sign of a healthy democracy.

Wachob is the McWethy Fellow at the Center for Competitive Politics.