Thursday, May 14, 2009

Anonymous Comment: Tory Funding, Ashcroft, MIC, Sleaze

This is a bit dry, but worth repeating from its place as a comment on this post, with more prominence:

Anonymous said...

Surely now is the time to start asking some very hard questions about the funding of Tory constituencies communications by Ashcroft, the Midlands Industrial Council and others. Looking at past Tory national campaign expenditure returns for the EU and General Elections it would appear that the Tories are working on the assumption that such expenditure does not count towards the overall limits. If I were them I wouldn’t be to sure. That Act makes it very clear that expenditure undertaken by Tory Constituency Associations (which are accounting units for the purpose of the Act) counts towards the national limits and hence should be reported on the returns (see section 72(8)(a) below), with invoices being audited and submitted to the Commission. And the definition of what counts as campaign expenditure is set very wide see section 72(4)(b) below

Perhaps someone could explain why all the “Ashcroft/MIC money” shouldn’t count towards the national expenditure limit. Of course the total limit for the European Elections is about £2m and covers all relevant expenditure during the preceding 12 months so may already have been broken if the “Ashcroft/MIC money” were to be included.

Surely this is something that the Electoral Commission should be considering very seriously, given that we are now less than 12 months away from the General Election.

72.—(1) The following provisions have effect for the purposes of this
(2) “Campaign expenditure”, in relation to a registered party, means
(subject to subsection (7)) expenses incurred by or on behalf of the party
which are expenses falling within Part I of Schedule 8 and so incurred for
election purposes.
(3) “Election campaign”, in relation to a registered party, means a
campaign conducted by the party for election purposes.
(4) “For election purposes”, in relation to a registered party, means for
the purpose of or in connection with—
(a) promoting or procuring electoral success for the party at any
relevant election, that is to say, the return at any such election
of candidates—
(i) standing in the name of the party, or
(ii) included in a list of candidates submitted by the party
in connection with the election; or
(b) otherwise enhancing the standing—
(i) of the party, or
(ii) of any such candidates,
with the electorate in connection with future relevant elections
(whether imminent or otherwise).
(5) For the purposes of subsection (4)—
(a) the reference to doing any of the things mentioned in paragraph
(a) or (as the case may be) paragraph (b) of that subsection
includes doing so by prejudicing the electoral prospects at the
Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 c. 41 57
Part V
election of other parties or candidates or (as the case may be) by
prejudicing the standing with the electorate of other parties or
(b) a course of conduct may constitute the doing of one of those
things even though it does not involve any express mention
being made of the name of any party or candidate; and
(c) it is immaterial that any candidates standing in the name of the
party also stand in the name of one or more other registered
(6) “Relevant election” has the same meaning as in Part II.
(7) “Campaign expenditure” does not include anything which (in
accordance with any enactment) falls to be included in a return as to
election expenses in respect of a candidate or candidates at a particular
(8) Where a registered party is a party with accounting units—
(a) expenses incurred or to be incurred by or on behalf of any
accounting unit of the party shall be regarded as expenses
incurred or to be incurred by or on behalf of the party, and
(b) references to campaign expenditure incurred or to be incurred by
or on behalf of a registered party accordingly extend, in relation
to the party, to expenses which constitute such expenditure by
virtue of paragraph (a).
(9) In this section “candidates” includes future candidates, whether
identifiable or not.
(10) Nothing in this Part applies in relation to expenses incurred or to
be incurred by or on behalf of a minor party.

14 May, 2009 12:57

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