Hain Cover-Up Not An “Absurd” Idea

Hain is attempting to shamelessly tough it out, despite even members of his own campaign team telling him to resign. He says the idea that he had attempted “to hide anything is absurd”. Is it really?

Why did his campaign wash cash through the Progressive Policies Forum (PPF) shell company in that case?

  • The BBC is reporting that one of the donations was transferred immediately it was received in the PPF account to his campaign account. Why not donate it directly to the Hain campaign if you have nothing to hide?

  • Willie Nagel, a diamond dealer, used PPF to keep his donation private. Indeed that was the condition upon which the donation was made. That is not in the spirit of the law. It is a deliberate attempt to hide the source of funds. Not so absurd now is it?
  • Is it absurd to wonder if his campaign team thought it might be better for the campaign’s left-wing credentials if it was not known to be the recipient of funds from a foreign multi-millionaire diamond dealer?

  • Perhaps the great anti-Apartheid veteran did not want the embarrassment of it being known that he was funded by Isaac Kaye, a former supporter of South Africa’s Afrikaner-led National Party. Kaye has previously been involved in “gifts for influence” and NHS price fixing scandals. Being known to be funded by an under investigation NHS profiteer would not appeal to Labour Party activist voters.
Routing the funds through a faux think-tank would disguise their source. Did somebody decide that not declaring them to the Electoral commission would avoid the risk of awkward questions altogether? It was absurdly bad luck that the unrelated Jon Mendelsohn / Abrahams proxy donor scandal resulted in Mendelsohn’s undeclared donation eventually being exposed. Mendelsohn’s admission meant that the other undeclared donations would inevitably come out during the police investigation – if it was not for the Abrahams scandal blowing up, Hain would have probably got away with it. It is the cover-up that always gets them in the end…

The whole Labour Party leadership campaign funding saga is turning into a farce, with the revelation that even Gordon Brown broke his own party’s donation rules.

Guido has checked the Electoral Commission website, his campaign lists 21 donations amounting to £196,700 and 3 non-cash donations totaling £19,005, giving a total of £215,705 altogether.

Under the Labour Party’s own rules he must pay 15% of the campaign funds raised into central party funds. Gordon, unlike all the other candidates, has not paid any funds over to the party according to the Electoral Commission. He should have paid £32,355. All the other candidates, including even Peter Hain, made their payments months ago. We know Gordon says he isn’t an accountant, but does he have the minimal competence required of a party leader, to ensure his campaign follows the party’s own rules? No wonder why he allows Wendy Alexander, Harriet Harman and Peter Hain to cling to office despite their breaking the rules, he is no different…

UPDATE : Dizzy has spotted something interesting. Remember Silverfish buying up websites like gordonbrownforbritain.com “speculatively”? Of course they all ended up, despite earlier denials, being used by Brown’s campaign. Did Silverfish get properly paid or did they, as many believe, give it all as a benefit in kind? If the latter, where are the declarations to the Electoral Commission?

Hain’s Story is Unravelling

Let’s tell it like it is, the Progressive Policies Forum is a slush fund. It has done nothing, has undertaken no known political activity, has no employees, no policies and there was no forum or indeed any meeting ever. When it quacks like a slush fund, acts like a slush fund and washes money like a slush fund, it is a slush fund.

The BBC is reporting that funds came into PPF and were transferred out on the same day – suggesting it was a purely a money laundering operation set-up by his own campaign treasurer. Hain has been pushing the “it was my incompetence” line, this makes it look like deliberate obfuscation…

Shaun Woodward Spoke at Fundraiser

The April 23, 2007, £1,300 Hain dinner paid for by Royal Mail director Huw Roberts had, Guido understands from a source at the dinner Shaun Woodward as the keynote speaker. That a supposedly left-wing campaign fundraiser was addressed by a multi-millionaire ex-Tory MP should surprise no-one. Hain’s campaign was always about furthering Hain, not “Progressive Policies”. Hain had no hesitation in accepting money from all sources, businessman and vested interests had no problem supporting his candidacy. His left-wing positioning was merely a transparently tactical necessity, which most Labour Party members fortunately saw through…

Hain Still Has Campaign Debts of £41,200

According to the Electoral Commission, Peter Hain registered a payment to the Labour Party of £11,550 on September 18. Under party rules he had to pay 15% of the funds raised to the party’s central funds.
Since he raised a total of £185,000, he should have actually paid the party £27,750. So he owes the Labour Party £16,200. He also owes Willie Nagel, a diamond broker and former Tory supporter repayment on an interest-free loan of £25,000.

Which means by Guido’s calculations he has unpaid campaign debts to the tune of £41,200.

Another £10,000 Hain Donor Got Endorsement

In February last year Peter Hain decided it was of great importance to be photographed presenting Mike Cuddy, Managing Director of Cuddy Group, with the NQA 18001 Award Occupational Health & Safety. As good a thing as it is, does it really merit the presentation by the Welsh Minister, glowing endorsement and photo-op? He was too busy to pay attention to his campaign finances because of his work in Northern Ireland he spins. Yet he had plenty of time for Cuddy Group. NQA 18001 is “awarded” for documenting your company’s approach to occupational health and safety. It is essentially for an office manual written by a junior in human resources.

Presenting the certificate Peter Hain said “With their accolade of awards continuing to grow I’m sure the Cuddy Group can look forward to a successful future.”

He also said thanks to Mike Cuddy for the £10,000 donation to his campaign… which he then forgot to declare.

Hat-tip : Joey Jones

As Guido suspected they would, Steve Morgan and Phil Taylor are blaming each other for the non-reporting of donations to Hain’s campaign. Guido has had run-ins with Hain’s ex-SpAd Phil Taylor before. The betting is that Phil is the one telling the truth, Morgan has a history with funding irregularities. Sleazy lobbyist Steve Morgan claims that when he took over in the middle of Hain’s campaign it was “complete chaos”. Phil Taylor denies this emphatically, “Not on my watch” he says “by the time I left we’d received legally and had declared £37,000 of donations and we hadn’t received a single penny in donations that was not declared at the time I left, so there was no chaos of any kind.” So that leaves a lot of unaccounted for cash raised by Morgan.

“Morgan the Organ”, as he was know in his days as George Galloway’s membership secretary and henchmen at War on Want in the late 80s, has had brushes with campaign funding irregularities in the past. Gorgeous George’s tenure at the left-wing campaigning charity led to a subsequent investigation by the Charity Commission over funding irregularities that were a foretaste of scandals to come.

His expenses and parking tickets were paid for out of WoW charity fundraising sources rather than his own pocket – and he regularly parked on the double yellow lines outside WoW’s Great Guilldford Street offices. Lefties who gave money to combat poverty in the Third World would not have been pleased to know their donations were going to offset Morgan’s anti-social laziness.

Guido wonders if some of the donors to Hain’s campaign might be just a little bit too embarrassing for a campaign that was positioned on the left. If it turns out to be case that say, a private equity baron or a hedge fund trader were donors, people will wonder if it really was incompetence or political embarrassment that was the reason for non-declaration of donations.

Morgan is currently helping on Hillary’s campaign so Guido feels it to be his duty to warn young impressionable American interns. He was known as “Morgan the Organ” for obvious reasons and to this day has an eye for young ladies…

+++ Rumour of Arrests Over Donorgate +++

The London Evening Standard is reporting “imminent” arrests…

BBC Invade America, Taxpayers Only Casualties

As Speedbird pointed out in the comments earlier, the BBC has Jonathan Beale, Justin Webb, Kevin Connelly, Matt Frei, Jon Sopel and David Grossman covering the primaries.
All reporting on the same thing, all giving the same (incorrect) analysis. Actually to be fair, David Grossman for Newsnight was different, telling us how he’d accidentally put diesel in the car and even filming his own cameraman and producer. At any minute he seemed to be on the verge of saying “Hello mum, I’m in America, on the telly!”

Does the duplication of efforts produce anything of value? Well it gives us clear evidence that the BBC has no budgetary discipline, massive over-staffing and a lot of West Wing fans in News & Current Affairs.

The BBC is hardly likely to get a scoop unless it can track down Steve Morgan, Peter Hain’s fundraiser who is in hiding, hopefully doing for Hilary what he did for Hain…

UPDATE : Comment makers point out that Simon Mayo is a long way from the Radio 1 Roadshow, he is reporting the primaries for 5 Live. Radio 4’s Jim Naughtie is there as well. Kevin Connolly is padding out 5 Live’s coverage as is somebody called Rhod Sharpe. Jonathan Marcus and James Coomarasamy are covering for the World Service.

Any more Beeboids across the Atlantic?

Pundits Perverse Predictions Prove Piffle

How Did We All Get This So Wrong? in the Speccie sums up the pundits this morning. All the pundit talk of double digit leads for Obama have come to naught, there was even talk of Hillary pulling out of the race yesterday.

If you really want to have a good laugh, pick up a copy of the print edition of the Indy and compare it to the hastily re-written articles on their website. Slight change of tone and direction in their punditry.

Guido is sticking to sticking it to Westminster politicians…

Brown Gives Bollocking to Hain

Brown has “expressed anger and disappointment at Peter Hain’s failure to disclose the full extent of donations to his deputy leadership campaign” according to the Guardian.

Gordon gave Hain a telephonic bollocking for ruining Brown’s New Year re-launch and blunting the intended counter-attack to Cameron’s welfare reform plans as announced by Chris Grayling. Grayling stingingly responded to Hain’s “Tory sums don’t add up” line with “Someone in Peter Hain’s position should be very careful about accusing anyone else of getting their sums wrong.”

Hain’s prospects in any cabinet reshuffle now look bleak. His department is obviously suffering from having a distracted Minister, a press release put out by the Department for Work and Pensions today has the headline “Brits struggle to make ends meet in the New Year”. The release contains their own polling figures showing that more than half of people in the UK (55%) spend more than they can afford and are “struggling”. Hardly the official message Brown and Darling are spinning of national economic strength. Perhaps if more Britons took out a loan from Picture Financial Services plc, sponsors of Peter Hain…

Gordon Boredom

Gordon Brown’s press conference is going on now. The political press pack is coming to dread Gordon’s repetitious droning. Iain Martin in the Telegraph said Gordon Brown’s speech on the NHS yesterday “went on, and on, and on… The content is very much downtown Havana and the presentation style also has Cuban echoes, like one of those speeches by Castro it goes on, and on, and on.”

John Harris in this morning’s Guardian reckons it is hard to distinguish Brown from a crypto-Stalinist parody –

“We will strengthen the democracy and unity of our country. Our priority at all times, our guiding purpose: one Britain of security and opportunity … With unbending determination, we will steer a course of stability through global financial turbulence … with firm conviction and resolve, we will make the case for the United Kingdom … I pledge my resolution to continue the work of change.”

Simon Hoggart criticises his descent into into verb-free sentences. Most Lobby journalists are bored with Gordon already, his colourless technocratic rhetoric. The automatic repetition of phrases and keywords such as “change”, “long term”, “tough decisions”, “my vision” and “getting on with the job” seems to be orally excreted on an endlessly looping tape. It going to be a long time until the next election…

UPDATE : Ben Brogan seems to have become bored and disenchanted with the Brownies as well. He even calls Gordon dishonest.

More Steve Morgan Anecdotes Please

Peter Hain’s sleazy lobbyist fundraiser, Steve Morgan, told Radio Wales this morning that he had been brought in to the campaign to “bring order to chaos”. A source retorts “bollocks”. Every donation, they insist firmly, was properly accounted for up until the moment Phil Taylor walked out after falling out with Morgan. The documentation Guido got hold of in May seemed very precise and backs this up.

Hain’s allies are furious at Morgan’s audacity. Guido hears so many bad things about Mr Morgan. Do email more to Guido.Fawkes@Order-Order.com.

Credit Crunch Over Hain’s £5,000 from Loan Company CEOHe Gave Ringing Commercial Endorsement to Backer

Carol Vorderman charges a fortune to advertise debt consolidation company FirstPlus. Peter Hain got a donation of £5,000 from rival debt consolidaton company boss, Neville Allport, his Picture Financial Services plc offers easy credit – “You can even borrow up to 125% of the value of your home” says the website “something that traditional lenders won’t consider.” They won’t consider such gearing because it is financially reckless.

Prominently displayed all over the company website is Hain’s ringing commerical endorsement. Guido can’t recall a serving minister’s endorsement ever being used to advertise a company in this way. Guido is sure that Hain’s endorsements and the £5,000 donation are entirely coincidental.

The 10.9% APR charged to credit maxed out debtors is very profitable, which probably explains why Ronnie Cohen’s Apax Private Equity is the biggest investor in Picture Financial Services plc. Remind Guido again where Hain stood on the Private Equity issue during the deputy-leadership campaign…

UPDATE : Looks like Hencke and Wintour on the Guardian are joining the chase this morning, with a front-page splash on Hain’s missing declarations. They are (rightly) fingering sleazy lobbyist Steven Morgan, identified by Guido in May 2007 as responsible for raising the cash.

The story points vaguely to an undeclared circa £10,000 from “City or business people”. Hain is said to be personally auditing the figures. Don’t forget the benefits-in-kind Peter…

BBC Interviews Al Jazeera’s Bin Laden Tape Guy

Brown came in promising an end to spin yet six months later he is appointing Stephen Carter, head of the PR firm Brunswick, to be his “Principal Political Adviser”. So a spin doctor is now in charge of all SpAds including (the unpopular with the Lobby) Damian McBride.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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