Dark Money Investigations

Brexit dark money revelations trigger MP's question on 'foreign interference'

openDemocracy's investigations into Leave donor Arron Banks and the DUP make global headlines, prompting calls for transparency. 

Mary Fitzgerald headshot in circle, small
Mary Fitzgerald
20 October 2017
_79640976_79640945_0.jpg

Ben Bradshaw in the House of Commons (fair use)

An investigation by openDemocracy has made global headlines this week and triggered questions in the UK parliament about 'foreign and possibly Russian interference in western democracies'.

Citing our series of revelations this week on the 'dark money' that funded the Brexit campaign, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw yesterday asked Andrea Leadsom, the Speaker of the House:

"Has she seen the very worrying series of reports this week by openDemocracy, on the role of dark money in the EU referendum, including revelations of illegal donations to the DUP and new questions today over the real wealth of Arron Banks, the main financial backer of Leave?

Given the widespread public concern over foreign and particularly Russian interference in Western democracies, will she assure this house that the government and the Electoral Commission will examine these reports very carefully and reassure our country that all of the resources spent in the referendum were from permissible sources?"

The story was then quickly picked up by The New York Times, The Guardian, the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

Arron Banks, the donor who gave the Leave campaign over £9m and whose sources of wealth we investigated in yesterday's story 'How did Arron Banks afford Brexit?' declined to comment to reporters following up the story. However he tweeted:

"The series of investigative reports Ben Bradshaw referred to were published by openDemocracy, a political website funded by none other than global George Soros, an expert in 'dark money'."

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 2.27.55 PM.png

Screenshot from Leave.EU Twitter used under Fair Use.

openDemocracy's funding sources are listed here.

We invite the same transparency from Mr Banks, and from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist party, which is still refusing to reveal the source of all its Brexit cash.

Urgent: expose dark money in our politics

Dear readers across the world,

Brexit has shown how broken British democracy is, with voters still in the dark about who bankrolls the politicians and lobbyists deciding the country's future.

Years of tireless investigation by openDemocracy have made some things painfully clear. Dark money is putting sophisticated propaganda in billions of social media feeds worldwide. The law and its enforcers are lagging far behind new techniques of digital manipulation. And only dedicated, long-term investigative journalism will show you what is really going on.

Our work gets results – triggering law change, criminal investigations and prompting global debate. But we're a small non-profit journalism outfit – no billionaire proprietor or paywall – which is why we need ongoing support from readers to:

pay journalists fair and sustainable wages

provide our team with the tools and security they need to do their work safely

hire in the experts (forensic accountants, lawyers, and digital analysts) to help us uncover the truth

We need your support to make all this happen. Please contribute – it really does make a difference.

Mary Fitzgerald, Editor-in-Chief

                                                                                                                                                        
Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram