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Police in France have issued an arrest warrant for a far-right QAnon promoter who is allegedly at the center of a plot to kidnap an 8-year-old child.
The Guardian reports that police believe former politician Rémy Daillet-Wiedemann helped political ally and fellow conspiracy theorist Lola Montemaggi abduct Mia, her 8-year-old daughter, after courts took away custody of the child.
A review of Montemaggi's Facebook page shows that she promoted claims about "a Satanic pedophile elite at the top of the French state" in addition to "anti-vax and 5G conspiracy theories," the Guardian writes.
Prosecutors allege that Daillet-Wiedemann coordinated a plan with five members of France's survivalist militia movement to pose as child protection agents and then kidnap Montemaggi's child and then bring her to her mother in Switzerland.
"Laurent Nuñez, France's national anti-terrorism coordinator, said Mia's abduction appeared to have been inspired by QAnon, the unfounded US conspiracy theory that Satan-worshipping pedophile cannibals run a global child sex-trafficking ring," reports the Guardian.
Mia Montemaggi was found in Switzerland with her mother over the weekend and has since been taken safely into custody. Lola Montemaggi was promptly arrested and is currently awaiting extradition to France.
These 12 white megadonors contributed $1 of every $13 spent on US elections since Citizens United: report
Just 12 megadonors contributed roughly $1 in every 13 dollars spent on recent campaigns for federal office, as well as the political groups that make up the U.S. campaign finance system, according to a new report on the influence of money in politics.
The staggering sum of these contributions — which represent more than $3.4 billion over the last decade — was revealed on Tuesday by Issue One, a nonpartisan group dedicated to reducing "the corrosive influence of big money in politics."
The findings offer a stark quantification of the role that a shrinking number of super-rich megadonors, both individuals and couples, have played in American politics following the Supreme Court's 2009 Citizen's United ruling. According to the report, all 12 of the country's top political donors are white, and the group represents more than a quarter of all donations from the top 100 zip codes by political contributions — which are more likely to skew white and affluent.
"Our government can't be responsive to all Americans if our elected officials are beholden to the elite donor class," Nick Penniman, Issue One's founder and chief executive, said in a statement. He added that Congress should act immediately to "pass sweeping reforms to create a democracy that works for everyone."
The top 12 donors were split equally down the middle among Democrats and Republicans. They were led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer. Both men self-funded their own Democratic presidential campaigns in 2020, with Bloomberg reportedly putting more than $1 billion and Steyer more than $200 million toward their doomed White House bids.
Top Republican donors included the late casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Dr. Miriam Adelson, his widow who received the Medal of Freedom under former President Donald Trump; shipping magnates Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein; hedge fund manager Ken Griffin; Timothy Mellon, the scion of one of America's wealthiest industrial-age families; TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts and his wife Marlene; as well as hedge fund manager Paul Singer.
On the Democratic side, other top contributors included hedge fund managers Donald Sussman and Jim Simons, media mogul Fred Eychaner and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.
The list does not include state and local level donations.
These trends lend to a climate where Americans are "losing faith in our democratic institutions," Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee said in a statement. "Congress must urgently act to restrain the growing influence of money in our politics and build a system that truly represents all Americans — not just the wealthy few."
Donations are pouring in to congressional campaigns in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection -- regardless of which side lawmakers were on.
Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) each raised around $1 million in the three months since the riot, which the North Carolina Republican helped encourage with a fiery speech beforehand supporting Donald Trump while the New Jersey Democrats helped Capitol custodians clean up the mess afterward, reported The Daily Beast.
"People recognize it wasn't just Jan. 6 — it was the election results and the fact that I think Trump was stronger than a lot of people were necessarily expecting," Kim told The Beast, "and Republicans made gains in the House in ways that, again, I think a lot of people weren't necessarily expecting … It was a combination of those things that showed people that we've got a long road ahead of us."
The last election cycle cost an estimated $14.4 billion, and many expected donors to hold back in this so-called "off year," with the midterms nearly two years away, but incumbents and early challengers announced historic hauls in the months since Trump supporters tried to violently overturn his election loss.
"After 2020 there was an open question of whether Democratic donors would stay engaged once Trump had exited," said Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson. "This report answers that question."
Liberal donors tended to boost the Democratic Party's most vulnerable incumbents, the filings show, while GOP donors gave the most to prominent Trumpists in safely red districts.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), for example, took in a whopping $3.2 million, while other staunchly pro-Trump lawmakers such as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Cawthorn were among the top Republican fundraisers.
Pro-impeachment Republicans also took in more money than usual, however.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) raised more than $1.5 million, five times more than the first quarter of 2020, while the other nine GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump also took in far more than usual.
"Going into my first re-elect obviously not taking the easy path when it comes to re-election," said Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), who voted to impeach. "I tend to think that voters value leaders who will exercise judgment and discretion."
Political experts believe the record hauls may forecast a new reality of never-ending campaign cycles, but this year's unusual trends may be lingering anxiety from the Trump presidency.
"Campaign fundraising and online fundraising has been exponentially growing cycle after cycle, but these first quarter numbers look like a natural growth, plus a supercharge," Ferguson said. "There's extra fuel in the tank because people are genuinely worried not just about Trump, but about what's taken control of the Republican Party."
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