All sorts of jargon exists for specific kinds of political campaigners. Party committees are groups like the Democratic National Committee. Candidate committees are Friends of Joe Smith or Jane Doe for Congress. The term "special interests" is generally used to describe a group with one industry or cause at its core, like the National Manufacturers Association or the Sierra Club.
But what about this relatively new breed of political group that does not have to disclose its funders? The groups are organized as nonprofit organizations under the tax code and therefore can take in donations of any size and keep the donors' names secret.
In our series on the hidden money in politics this season, Peter Overby and I have been unhappy with every title out there. "Third-party groups" is misleading — they're almost all either pro-Republican or pro-Democrat. That's also the reason why "independent groups" doesn't work.
When we asked you, we got hundreds of responses and some really great ideas.
Walter Barnes writes, "Anonymous Self-Interest Group. That clearly indicates that they have a motive other than education and that the result of relying on their information will benefit them, probably at the expense of others."
Louella Browning says whatever we call them, we should include the word "anonymous."
"My side, their side, it doesn't matter to me," she writes. "If they don't disclose their funding sources, I at least want to know that they're hiding."
Kaati Ross came up with "Unidentified Funding Organizations. UFOs"
Listeners came up with some great new words like "Wedge Funds," "Subvertizers," "Surrogators" and my favorite, from Phil Mayall: "Camouflobbyists."
And about a dozen of you came up with "Political Interest Groups or PIGS"
There were so many great suggestions, we couldn't decide. So we've put it back to you to vote. Maybe you'll go with Erik Espinoza, who writes, "Since these organizations are meant to disguise donors and attack opposing candidates, the only suitable name would be Cloak and Dagger organizations."
Or maybe, like Richard Brubaker, you won't vote at all. He calls attack ads "a big waste of time & money. Everybody I know hits the mute button."
This election season NPR tasked political correspondents Peter Overby and Andrea Seabrook with tracking the money flowing into partisan politics. It's ... complicated.