Report: Russia Funneled $300M to Foreign Candidates

Review did not include US
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2022 1:00 AM CDT
Report: Russia Funneled $300M to Foreign Candidates
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Security Council meeting via videoconference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.   (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

A new US intelligence review found that since 2014, Russia has secretly given more than $300 million to foreign political candidates in an effort to influence elections. The review found evidence of the money being funneled to more than two dozen countries across four continents, including Albania, Montenegro, Madagascar and possibly Ecuador; it did not address whether similar Russian activities have taken place in the US, but officials say the US is indeed "vulnerable" to such activities. Officials spoke about the findings anonymously to outlets including the Washington Post and CNN, and said US officials decided to declassify the information so the public could be informed, as could allies abroad.

"By shining this light on Russian covert political financing and Russian attempts to undermine democratic processes, we’re putting these foreign parties and candidates on notice that if they accept Russian money secretly we can and we will expose it," one official said. Russia's goal, the officials say, is to weaken democracies and strengthen political movements seen as Russia-friendly. Some of the groups that have benefited are far-right. The money has been given via ambassadors, shell companies, think tanks, and other means, sometimes using cash and other times cryptocurrency or gifts. And officials say this is believed to be the "tip of the iceberg," and the true amount of money and number of countries impacted could be much higher. (More Russia stories.)

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