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Case

Tufton Street: Shine a light on dark money in politics

Who pulls the strings of the shady groups at 55 Tufton Street? We’ve started a legal campaign to uncover this insidious network of think-tanks and lobby groups that influence our politics – and to expose who’s behind them.

For years sections of the media have worked to expose 55 Tufton Street and its outsized and malign hold over the Government via the opaque lobby groups and right-wing think tanks based there.

Now Good Law Project has embarked on a series of legal interventions focused on Tufton Street cronyism: undisclosed donors, misinformation, astro-turfing, opacity and lobbying.

Restore Trust – far from restoring trust – is one of many organisations which needs scrutiny. It recently tried – and failed – to seize control of the National Trust, to stop it exploring debates on issues like slavery and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. 

Although Restore Trust claims to be grassroots it won’t say who funds it, or even who it is. It has many of the hallmarks of an astro-turfed – a fake grassroots – organisation whose function is to mask the real actors who have a vested and often financial interest in the message they sell. 

We took the first formal step in legal proceedings against Restore Trust, asking for a full explanation of who is behind their website’s data analysis and targeting, and why they carry it out. They failed to respond to our letter, but changed their website to reveal the operator of their site – RT2021 Limited. 

Public records show that one of RT2021’s company directors is Neil Record, who is also the chairman of climate change denial group Net Zero Watch and libertarian think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. Despite previous denials, this confirms that Restore Trust is linked with the Tufton Street network of think tanks and pressure groups that are funded by dark money and which helped push the economic ideas behind Liz Truss’s disastrous premiership. 

Restore Trust has yet to address the breaches in data protection law raised in our letter we identified with AWO, a data rights agency, and so we have asked our solicitors AWO to issue proceedings against RT2021.

Our legal action is an important step in our work to expose the cronyism behind Tufton Street including undisclosed donors, misinformation, astro-turfing, opacity and lobbying.


If you’re in a position to support this case, you can do so here 

 

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