50.50: Investigation

Interactive: Explore US Christian right ‘dark money’ spending globally

$280 million in ‘dark money,’ 28 organisations, seven different regions – the US Christian Right’s global influence visualised.

Mark Brough.jpeg Screenshot 2020-08-28 at 12.00.11.png Claire Provost author pic Lou crop.jpg
Mark Brough Inge Snip Claire Provost Lou Ferreira
28 October 2020, 12.06pm

A new openDemocracy investigation reveals that 28 US Christian right groups, many of them linked to President Trump’s administration, have spent at least $280 million overseas since 2007 – while fighting against women’s and LGBTIQ rights.

Some of these groups have, among other activities, backed court cases against women’s and LGBTIQ rights; campaigned against divorce, same-sex adoption and trans rights; and even supported the death penalty for gay people in Uganda.

In the first-ever global exposé of their spending, openDemocracy scrutinised thousands of pages of these groups’ publicly available annual financial filings in the US, where they are registered as non-profit organisations and are required to disclose some information about their income and expenditure.

The interactive on this page allows you to explore this spending by organisation, region and year. You can also examine it by different categories – for example, you can view all spending by groups that are anti-LGBT or anti-abortion or connected to the Trump administration or linked to the ultra-conservative World Congress of Families network, which also has increasing ties to far-right leaders across Europe.

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According to this data, more money was spent in Europe than any other region (almost $90 million) – including $14 million by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is led by Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow – followed by Africa ($54 million), Asia ($49 million) and Latin America ($44 million).

Yet these figures are underestimates of actual Christian right spending overseas because they only include expenditure by registered non-profits. This means our data does not include spending by organisations that are registered as churches, for instance.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) – a group that spent nearly $100 million globally between 2007 and 2014 – re-registered as an association of churches in 2015 and is no longer required to disclose this information. Several other groups do not have publicly available filings for all years in our dataset.

Our investigation is not over. Follow @5050oD for more stories coming soon.

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