Humanosity says….We have been posting articles that highlight a trend of dark money being used to influence politics especially in the UK. Whilst left leaning philanthropists have always funded causes related to human rights and social justice, it seems that US money lies behind the increasing visibility of the far right in Europe.
The likes of Marine le Pen in France, leader of the National Front (now rebranded as the National Rally party), Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Matteo Salvini in Italy, are all at the forefront of the resurgence of the far right across the continent. Their messaging is slick, their party machines are disciplined and their policies carefully crafted to appeal to Europe’s disaffected voters.
Such professionalism isn’t usually associated with the far right but times have changed and this new found discipline and strategy hasn’t come out of nowhere.
A recent investigation has 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. To put this in context of typical European levels of spending, the total spend on the 2014 European elections by all of Ireland’s political parties combined was just $3 million.)
The $50m is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. Truthout examined thousands of pages of IRS filings and has identified a number of groups that seem to funneling money into European far right politics.
The largest spender appeared to be the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which spent more than $20 million in Europe from 2008 to 2014, but filings are not available beyond that period, so the true figure could be far larger.
One of the groups they have looked at is Heartbeat International, founded in the early 1970s. Based in Columbus, Ohio, it has pioneered “crisis pregnancy centers,” which discourage women from accessing legal abortion and contraception. The organization has gone global and seems to have spent more money in Italy than anywhere else in Europe.