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A United States group has sent in extra money to an anti-gay presidential candidate and an internet platform focused on “correcting” sexual behaviour.
The founder of the group believed to be behind the donations told the Ghanaian reporter Matilda Kabi that she was “all about helping Christian Americans to do something for the Lord”.
In June, Sammie Grassi, a pastor and former business associate of Stormfront founder Don Black, sent $35,000 to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. Black has acknowledged funding Trump’s campaign.
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Most of the money went to Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, according to a tally made by the Washington Post. None of it went to African American voters, the newspaper reported.
Grassi, identified in public documents only as MTG, had previously given money to Grassi’s US company, Solutions Africa Inc. In that year, a marketing company Grassi operates out of San Diego paid him $250,000, according to US government records.
Grassi said on Kabi’s show that he had visited Ghana in early 2016 to fundraise for Innerspace Christian, a campaign to register and support an African Christian candidate.
“This is not anti-gay, this is not anti-minority, this is not about lynching, this is about actual Christians who are doing this work trying to help the African church and push back against the Islamists,” Grassi said, according to audio posted on the journalist’s website.
Grassi was speaking to Kabi in response to a recent report that Mr Trump had sent Grassi $25,000 as a “gift” to Innerspace. The funds went to Grassi to pay marketing expenses on Innerspace’s web page, said the operator of the website.
Kabi began investigating Grassi in August after Innerspace’s assistant operations manager Josh Stone turned over documents to him regarding Grassi’s involvement in the campaign. Stone could not be immediately reached for comment.
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After the grant for campaign materials was made public, Innerspace issued a statement asking people “not to attach religious affiliations to anything” but to look at the company’s “unique investment” in making it easier for pastors and laypeople to “own their own businesses” and “turn non-red baptisms into HIV positive testimonies”.
Kabi and Grassi raised further questions about Innerspace’s connections to earlier unrelated claims made in Innerspace’s promotional material.
One document prepared by Grassi claimed the group was coordinating religious community-wide demonstrations for the May 2018 elections in Ghana, which were promptly cancelled. The founder of the Innerspace group, Stone, told Kabi there were no planned actions.
Stone wrote about the rightwing activist group Causez Media’s funding in an online article, and the pair appeared together on a livestream to explain the mysterious donations.
“My point here is, if people really want to back their Christian organisations, they need to get really involved. Real active in Africa,” Grassi said.
“And when people say we are out here trashing LGBTQ to the media, we are also out here fighting corruption, we are also out here fighting social security fraud, we are also out here fighting tax fraud.”
Stone denied that money from his company had gone to Trump’s re-election campaign.