The American Dark Money Behind Europe's Far Right - 2019-07-10
For those Europeans who like to see their continent as the world's most secular and socially liberal, these are disturbing developments. It is no surprise, perhaps, that European countries are capable of producing hard-right nationalist movements, but it is startling how quickly these new parties have grown and forced their way into the electoral mainstream—and it's striking to see how many are adopting overtly religious and socially conservative rhetoric.
Part of the explanation for this surge, however, became clearer for us when we started tracking the international financial flows linked to many of America's most powerful Christian conservative groups. Several of the American activists who signed the Manhattan Declaration have since made numerous trips across the Atlantic, along with a great deal of cash to support their efforts.
A recent openDemocracy investigation found that America's Christian right spent at least $50 million of "dark money" to fund campaigns and advocacy in Europe over the past decade. (By the measures of US political financing, this may not seem like a vast sum, but by European standards it's formidable. The total spend on the 2014 European elections, for example, by all of Ireland's political parties combined was just $3 million.)