Italian Religious Right Leader And Brian Brown Ally Under Investigation

Luca Volontè. Image from Novae Terrae Foundation video.

Luca Volontè, an Italian anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ activist with close ties to American Religious Right figures “is under investigation for allegedly accepting millions in exchange for helping muzzle Europe’s top human rights body,” according to BuzzFeed’s Lester Feder and Alberto Nardelli.

Volontè, who heads the Novae Terrae Foundation, traveled to South Africa in December to help National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown launch the International Organization for the Family. Volontè serves with Brown on the board of trustees of CitizenGO, an online platform for conservative organizers. Volontè was honored by the World Congress of Families, now led by Brown, at its 2015 summit in Salt Lake City.

Italian prosecutors have charged that the government of Azerbaijan “bought Volontè’s influence to defeat a 2013 resolution that would have condemned the government for holding political prisoners.” Read the entire BuzzFeed story for details on the allegations, Volontè’s denial of wrongdoing, and his pal Brian Brown dismissing the investigation as “a political witch hunt.”

Some more background on Volontè from BuzzFeed:

The lawmaker’s name is Luca Volonté, and until 2013 he led the largest bloc in what’s called the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Since leaving elected office, Volonté has been a major player in circles of “pro-family” activists working to build an international movement. He served as the chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute when it hosted a video address inside the Vatican in 2014 by Steve Bannon, then Breitbart’s executive chairman and now US President Donald Trump’s top strategist.

In a 2014 interview with BuzzFeed, Volontè had said that lawmakers in the Caucasus region, where Azerbaijan is located, were a primary source of his financial support:

“They think if we present and prepare and take a good fight and good battle to the Western European countries, supporting and promoting family values — freedom of religion, freedom of education, and life values, — they could [stop] aggression by the pro-abortion, pro-gay [forces],” he said, adding, “Also because they are quite moderate Muslims, and they believe that some values and some aggression of these values in these Western countries are totally catastrophic.”