The country’s fast-rising far-right leader, Geert Wilders, is getting help from American conservatives attracted to his anti-European Union and anti-Islam views. David Horowitz, an American right-wing activist, has contributed roughly $150,000 to Mr. Wilders’s Party for Freedom over two years — of which nearly $120,000 came in 2015, making it the largest individual contribution in the Dutch political system that year, according to recently released records.Not only is this a lot of money for the Netherlands -- political contributions haven't been a significant factor in the country's elections, and this is a large contribution by Dutch standards -- but the gift may not be legal in Horowitz's home country:
Though Mr. Horowitz’s donations adhere to Dutch standards, there was some question of whether they comply with American law.According to the IRS, a 501(c)(3) group "may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates." In return, it can receive contributions that are tax-deductible.
Organized as a 501(c)(3) under American tax law, Mr. Horowitz’s foundation is barred from making donations to political organizations. The donations went to the Friends of PVV, according to Dutch records, a foundation covered by political disclosure rules.
Michael Finch, the president of Mr. Horowitz’s foundation, said in an email that “the funds that were sent to Geert Wilders were to help him in his legal cases” and “were not political donations.”
But donations to foreign political entities are problematic, tax experts said.
“The I.R.S. views foreign political organizations as the same as domestic political organizations — not appropriate for a charity to support,” said Marcus S. Owens, a partner at Loeb & Loeb, and former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the Internal Revenue Service, in an email. He added, “The I.R.S. also views a charity that is controlled by a political organization as transgressing federal tax rules.”
And the Times story goes on to say that other American "charities" have helped Wilders:
Dutch records also show that two American foundations paid for Mr. Wilders’s flights and hotels on trips to the United States last year. One, the Gatestone Institute, lists John R. Bolton, a combative former United Nations ambassador under George W. Bush, as its chairman. Another, the International Freedom Alliance Foundation, is backed by Robert J. Shillman, a wealthy Trump supporter who paid for a digital ad in Times Square last year depicting Mr. Trump as Superman.Bolton's Gatestone Institute is a 501(c)(3), as is Shillman's International Freedom Alliance Foundation.
Conservatives regard Barack Obama's IRS as a criminal organization because it sought to prevent political organizations from obtaining tax-exempt status by posing as non-political charities. There was a reason for that. And now the fakery has global ramifications.
A follow-up Times story tells us that, according to a new Dutch campaign disclosure report, "the spigot of American cash seems to have been mostly shut off."
The report showed that Mr. Wilders and his Party for Freedom, which has been running first or second in Dutch polls, received about $25,000 last year from the David Horowitz Freedom Center.... In addition, a Buffalo-based company, listed in the new Dutch records as FOL Inc., also appeared in the records as giving roughly $7,400 in November. The company could not be immediately identified in New York State records.I'm not sure I can explain the dropoff, but it may be because few in the mainstream media were paying attention in 2015 to the connections between the U.S. right and the global white nationalist movement. Since last year, there's been a lot more interest. So maybe Horowitz et al. are lying low.
But that is still a sharp drop from 2015, when Mr. Horowitz’s center donated nearly $120,000 to the Party for Freedom, making it the largest individual donation that year in the Dutch political system, which is small and parochial compared with American politics.