Monday, January 28, 2008

Exclusive : Leaked Email Reveals Another Undeclared Hain Donation

The Association of Professional Political Consultants emergency meeting of its management committee scheduled for today will consider a complaint about Steve Morgan of Morgan Allen Moore, (“MAM”) the public aff­airs firm linked to the Peter Hain’s donations.
Morgan the Organ not only made a £5,000 donation to the fake think-tank and allowed the Hain4Labour campaign to use MAM off­ices. Cheques to Hain4Labour were sent via the Cardiff offices of MAM before ending up in the campaign coffers. The fake Progressive Polices Forum think tank shares a London address with MAM as well. 

These actions breach the APPC code of conduct, which states that members

must keep strictly separate from their duties and activities as political consultants any personal activity or inv­olvement on behalf of a pol­itical party. 

Steve Morgan is presumably going to try and claim that this was all done in a personal capacity. Herein lies a problem, the Hain4Labour campaign had use of MAM staff. For example Kate Lewis, head of MAM’s Cardiff office was working on the campaign – which also begs the question why no donation in kind was registered? Her services do not come cheap and would not fall below the non-declarable £1000 threshold.

From: “Steve Morgan”
To: “Geraint Davies”, “Kate Lewis”, “Hugh Roberts”, “Andrew Stallard”, “Wayne David”, “CARBERRY, Joe”, “Albert Owen”, “Chris Ruane”, “Huw ID”, “Eluned Morgan”

Subject: Meeting
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 16:20

Thanks for coming to the meeting with Peter on Saturday we’re really glad to have you on board and grateful for your support for Peter’s campaign.

There are two items we need to deal with immediately.

1. First meeting date.

If everyone’s ( MPs are welcome but there’s no whip!!) happy to meet in Cardiff for an hour over lunch we can use my offices down on the Bay. Can you make either the 8th, 13th or 14th of March?

2. Wales-wide network.

We talked about getting a key supporter in every constituency. If you know of anyone who can fill these roles for us can you let me know (with contact details please) before we meet. Can you also let me know which constituencies you’re in.

Thanks

Steve

The significance of this email is twofold; it was sent from Morgan the Organ’s MAM office and demonstrates that MAM was effectively Hain’s campaign base and that MAM staff such as Kate Lewis were running the campaign. This clearly breaks the APPC’s Code of Conduct. 

It also means that there is yet another undeclared to the Electoral Commission benefit-in-kind donation probably worth tens of thousands of pounds…

Saturday, January 26, 2008

+++ SKY REPORTING ALAN JOHNSON UNDECLARED & PROXY DONATIONS +++

UPDATE 12:00 Sunday : Guido is taking a break this weekend from sifting through sleaze. Take the opportunity below in the comments to do what Guido would do. See if there are reasons why Alan Johnson might cook the books?
Look at Johnson’s donors, are there any with a possible conflict of interest with his ministerial position, people who do business or represent businesses or are associated with government contractors?

Are there people with dodgy histories? What was their motive in giving cash to Johnson? Consider this a little experiment in distributed journalism and research. Good luck, remember the Dead-Tree-Press will be reading and looking for leads. Last week identifiable traffic from newsroom offices surged and contributed to the 30,000 a day readership…

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How Guido Destroyed Hain’s Ambitions in 12 Months

On January 29, 2007 Guido threw Hain’s leadership campaign into disarray by revealing his campaign strategy. It led to chaos in Hain4Labour. The leak meant that nobody in the campaign trusted anybody.

In May 2007 Guido revealed the Hain4Labour campaign budget and that sleazy lobbyist Steve Morgan was arranging the financing.

On the morning of December 3, 2007 Guido chased down an undeclared donor and talked to Hain’s Special Adviser Joe Carberry to ask about missing undeclared donations. That afternoon Hain went to see the Electoral Commission.

On January 8 this year Guido revealed the links between campaign donors and endorsements from Hain.

Get the full background to the story:

All Guido’s recent Hain stories. All Guido’s older Hain stories.

+++ HAIN TO RESIGN +++

+++ SKY HAIN DONATIONS MET POLICE TO INVESTIGATE +++

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fourth Company Endorsed by Hain Got£1m from Welsh Assembly Government

When Peter Hain is eventually reshuffled away or forced out of office he can just continue his career in advertising making those celebrity endorsements; “St Tropez, for a perma-tan, will last longer than my career…”

Here is a fourth corporate endorsement, he praised a firm as a “modern, dynamic company” which he wanted to see go “from strength to strength” in the run up to their stock market floatation. It is handy for a Cardiff based spin firm doing government relations if the Welsh Secretary himself gives you a boost despite the obvious conflict of interest. Very reassuring to potential investors…

Freshwater UK plc, which even more handily also got a £1m investment from the Welsh Assembly Government development arm, had coincidentally paid £10,000 for a table at a Labour fundraiser four days prior that ringing endorsement. Peter Hain was seated at the Freshwater table at the event, which was also attended by John Underwood, Freshwater’s business development director and Hain’s campaign treasurer. It was Underwood who set up the faux think tank as well to channel money to Hain4Labour. Yet another amazing coincidence in the Hain saga…

The London Evening Standard has been trying to get hold of Hain4Labour’s campaign manager, the increasingly elusive Morgan the Organ. Morgan Allen Moore’s vice-chairman Richard Moore told the Standard that the fake think tank matter sharing a registered office with them was “purely coincidental”. “The only connection between Morgan Allen Moore and the Progressive Policies Forum is that we have the same registered address with a firm of London solicitors.”

Too many coincidences to be believable.

Electoral Commission Did Not Write to MIC

Word reaches Guido that the Electoral Commission wrote to “certain” unincorporated associations last week, not including the Midlands Industrial Council. Lisa Klein, Director of Party and Election Finance, wrote the letter reminding them about original money sources being permissible donors.

The MIC has long been the target of Labour complaints and has gone to some lengths to satisfy the Electoral Commission.

Lisa Klein was unavailable for comment…

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Murkier and Murkier

Two Labour MPs John Mann* and Kevan Jones** have written to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner with a list of donations to 80 Tory MPs they want probed. Guido asked a Labour contact for some background on them, he said “they think they are being clever, but they are idiots”.

The list is a list of donations from unincorporated associations consisting of mainly Tory dining clubs and support groups. There is a real and important issue of transparency here. What Mann and Jones seem to have forgotten is that Labour too has had some £2 million from unincorporated associations. In fact Harriet Harman got £5,000 from one for her leadership campaign…

It might not be illegal, but it is shady, and none of the parties have anything to be proud of on this front. However it is of an entirely different order to Hain’s fake think-tank. Hain’s campaign didn’t even report the donations never mind the source.

UPDATE : Am reliably informed that Kevan Jones was put up to this by his former boyfriend Nick Brown, the long time Gordon loyalist henchmen and enforcer. Kevan was, a long time ago, Nick Brown’s researcher and has enjoyed the patronage of Nick Brown ever since. One amusing story that Guido has been reminded of is that during the 2003 backbench Tuition Fees Rebellion Kevan Jones was summoned to see Gordon who told him he should vote for Tuition Fees. Jones said he represented a working class constituency in the North East and they could not afford to pay for their children to go to university. Gordon’s reply was classic, “I’m not f***ing asking you, I’m f***ing telling you.”

*
John Mann flew to Nigeria recently on a junket courtesy of Shell. Shell is the largest operator in Nigeria providing most of Nigeria’s export earnings. Shell were implicated in the judicial execution of Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. In September 2001 a court in New York granted relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa and another of the executed activists, the right to sue Shell. The suit alleged the company fabricated evidence to support murder charges against the two men.

**Kevan Jones loves a junket, Guido counted at least half a dozen trips to Washington and elsewhere courtesy of various arms trade interests on the register in the last couple of years.

Steve Morgan Sleaze Investigation

The Spin Industry’s self regulatory body, the APPC, describes itself “as the representative and regulatory body for UK public affairs professionals in the consultancy sector.” It was set up in the wake of brown-envelope lobbyist scandals by some of the more respectable lobbying firms to try and prevent the most egregious happenings that are endemic to a murky industry.

Guido has learnt that the APPC has received a complaint from James Davenport, a former employee of Morgan Allen Moore, concerning ten separate breaches of the APPC Code of Conduct by Steve Morgan, Hain’s campaign manager. The book is well and truly being thrown at “Morgan the Organ”…

Hain’s Ryder Cup Cash Link

Peter Hain is getting a lot of cheering from Labour MPs during an unusually well attended session of Welsh questions this morning. Labour backbenchers have clearly decided, perhaps with encouragement from the whips, to prop up the Welsh Secretary. They are cheering him, as Guido writes, for “bringing the Ryder Cup to Wales”.

No opposition MP had the wit to question the conflict of interest and propriety of Hain receiving a £1,500 donation to his campaign from PGA Ryder Cup PR firm TM Communications. More here


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Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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