Maggie Chapman backs calls for more scrutiny over so-called think tanks

Investigators at openDemocracy have just published the latest results of their detailed  WhoFundsYou? Project

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman has welcomed a new report which calls for more scrutiny on funding to think tanks with high levels of influence over politics.

Investigators at openDemocracy have just published the latest results of their detailed WhoFundsYou? Project, which shows an increase in what they term as ‘opaque’ funding which they reveal now stands at £25 million a year.

They raised the alarm in particular over the lack of transparency in more than half of the most influential UK based organisations, and highlighted serious concerns over what is termed ‘dark money’. 

Ms Chapman, economy and justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, says she is supporting their calls that would see think tanks forced to register as lobbyists if they receive more than £85,000 of funding from single sources.

Seeking more scrutiny from The Charity Commission, having more checks and due diligence on information provided with organisations who are not fully transparent about funding and looking at foreign income sources, have also been backed. 

After the launch of today’s report, she said: “It is very concerning that any organisation can have high levels of influence on politics and democracy when they clearly fail to be open about their funding.

“Migration Watch and the Taxpayers Alliance, to name just two, are identified in this new investigation as among those with significant influence who are being far less than transparent about who is funding their work.

“Perhaps what is most striking about this investigation is how left wing bodies have very high levels of transparency, while right wing organisations do not.

"It is correct we ask why that is and challenge it.

“This is an important, necessary and strikingly detailed report from investigators at openDemocracy who are to be congratulated for shining a light on dark money and the need for reform over think tank funding.”

The full report includes a detailed grading of which think tanks openDemocracy have graded as opaque or transparent and will be available at their WhoFundsYou? Page from Noon today, and including details of those based in Scotland.