The Brexit deadline is hurtling towards us, and citizens across the UK still aren't allowed to know who bankrolls the politicians deciding the country's future. Across Europe, the far-right is set to make big gains in the May elections. From the US to Latin America to the Philippines, authoritarians are cracking down on dissent and exploiting vulnerabilities in our democratic systems.
Two 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.
This week we've published new revelations about the dark-money-fuelled network of think tanks that has the whip hand over Theresa May's government.
That followed on our exclusive exposure of Cambridge Analytica's 'black ops’ on three continents – exploiting weaknesses in democracies left wide open by governments and Silicon Valley.
We also recently exposed how Brexit bankroller Arron Banks asked Cambridge Analytica to help him fundraise in the US – even though it's illegal to raise cash overseas.
We've revealed how Banks gave Cambridge Analytica personal information about British voters, and how far-right guru Steve Bannon, Trump's former campaign chief, played a key role in the early days of the Brexit campaign.
Remember the news that Banks lied to Parliament about his business and political activities? We broke that story too.
We're not just on Banks's trail. We started our dark money investigations by tracing the DUP's secret Brexit donors, and we've revealed the law-breaking antics of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove's Vote Leave campaign.
We've also exposed how a pressure group of MPs fronted by Jacob Rees-Mogg is taking taxpayer money to push its version of Brexit; and how dark money-funded think tanks are fuelling the same powerful lobby.
We're running this urgent appeal to find out all the answers. We've got tons more leads to chase down but need your help to keep going. Can you help us today?
We're a small non-profit journalism outfit, and we need funding 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
Our work matters – and it gets results.
The National Crime Agency announced it's investigating Arron Banks, after our reporting raised serious questions about where all his Brexit donations really came from. Our work on the DUP's secret Brexit cash triggered a law change, ending donor secrecy in Northern Ireland. Our reporting has prompted questions in Parliament; it's been cited by a major inquiry by MPs into fake news; it's provided key evidence for three Electoral Commission investigations. And it's been picked up in media across the world.
We've done all this on a shoestring budget – not because we're pro or anti-Brexit, but because we're passionate about uncovering the truth.
Now we need your help. Please give what you can today – it really does make a difference.
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Donations will go to the Open Trust (1086404), which supports openDemocracy.