Russian election interference is all the rage these days — just ask the United States, France, or Germany. Now the Netherlands is grappling with some new unwelcome meddlers: Americans. Several wealthy Americans bankrolled the campaign of Geert Wilders, the country’s far-right, anti-EU, and anti-immigrant candidate according to new campaign finance records the Dutch government released this week. One right-wing activist, David Horowitz, donated $150,000 to Wilders’s Party for Freedom (PVV) between 2015 and 2017. It’s a drop in the bucket in American terms, but the money goes much further in a small western European country that relies heavily on public funds for elections. Horowitz’s 2015 donations to PVV — $120,000 — was the country’s largest individual political donation that year, the record shows.
“Receiving such large sums from individual donors is highly unusual in our political landscape,” Sijbren de Jong, an analyst with the Dutch-based Hague Center for Strategic Studies, told Foreign Policy.
The American involvement comes amid a spate of election meddling by Russia. The Netherlands, France, and Germany have all sounded the alarm bells over Kremlin plots to empower anti-establishment political movements and pump cleverly-disguised propaganda and misinformation into their upcoming elections. And the United States is still reeling from revelations the Kremlin influenced its own 2016 elections to try and tip the scales in favor of President Donald Trump.