Rules v Laws

Money laundering, secret illegal undeclared loans, the making of false statutory declarations, deception, fraudulent misrepresentation and the rest are not “technical breaches of the rules”, they are criminal acts. Could broadcasters bear that in mind when referring to Donorgate. This isn’t just like miscounting the triple word score in Scrabble.

Exclusive : Hain Cheated the Labour Party as Well

It seems that Hain decided to pay the Electoral Commission a visit rather quickly only after he realised that Guido and the Western Mail were on his tail. Amazing how a few pointed questions can prompt a minister into action. The “shit they are on to me, I was just about to make a full confession, really” ploy.

Guido seems to better informed about Hain’s budget than he now claims to be. Back in May Guido ran this story detailing his expenditure, yet he claims to have been unaware of the figures until yesterday. Guido even helpfully uploaded the campaign’s expenditure summary for co-conspirators to download here. So how come Guido knew in May and he didn’t until yesterday. Why the under-reporting? Is it because of dodgy embarrassing donors like Mendelsohn?

Labour party rules on the leadership campaign require 15% of funds raised to go to the National Labour Party, and on September 9 this year Hain duly paid over £ 11,550.

In reality he should have paid over £13,335. He cheated his own party out of £1,785.60. Now if he worked for a private company and effectively defrauded them of commission, what would you do? Prosecute for fraudulent accounting or under the good old Theft Act?

How come Guido knew from his own campaign’s documents these figures and he didn’t? Even the most charitable interpretation is that he is recklessly incompetent. Is he really fit to be in charge of the billions allocated by the Department for Work and Pensions. Is he really the best person to be in charge of your pension?

Sean Connery’s Revenge

The regulations on donations were originally designed to screw foreign financial backers of the Conservative party. Some bright spark suggested tightening up the rules to exclude support from British expats who were not registered to vote and did not pay UK tax. A clause designed specifically and spitefully to block support from Sean Connery for the SNP.

It is that very same law that has come back to bite Scottish Labour’s Wendy Alexander. Sean Connery will be laughing his tartan socks off.

ICM Poll : 57% Think Brown is Sleazy

The moral compass is lost, his integrity in tatters, Gordon clings on to disgraced ministers out of fear. Three senior ministers are accused of reckless criminality and senior Labour party officials are facing potential jail sentences. Is it any surprise that an ICM Poll for Newsnight shows that 57% of voters think Gordon Brown is tainted by sleaze? The Labour party is now perceived by most people as institutionally corrupt.

Hain Fundraiser : "Small Problem With Donations"

Guido has been running up his phone bill trying to get hold of Labour fundraisers. Peter Hain’s fundraiser, Huw Roberts was kind enough to call back.
HR Hello, I couldn’t make out your message, who is that?
GF I was calling about your undeclared donations to Peter Hain’s campaign
HR Who are you? What are you talking about?

This went on for a bit. During which he claimed to have never met and never even heard of Jon Mendelsohn until this weekend. After some time where he tried to get Guido to tell him what Guido knew, he coughed a confession.

HR There is a small problem with my donation. It is not my fault. He has to declare the donations, not me.

The conversation got a bit confused and fraught at this point, Huw would only concede that he had made a donation, yet despite having held fundraising dinners for Peter Hain, he would not confirm any other donations were undeclared. No donation of any kind is recorded from Huw Roberts…

UPDATE : Have just got off the phone with Joe Carberry, Hain’s SpAd, “what you have written on the blog is not true”. So is Huw Roberts lying? “I am going to put the phone down” said Carberry. Guido gets through a lot of Hain SpAds per annum, so it is understandable.

Scottish Front Pages Say It All for Wendy

Like some desperado besieged by the police, Wendy is shouting that she is not coming out. You may quibble that the Daily Record has right headline, different story, but the point still stands.

Is Roy Kennedy, the Labour Party’s Director of Finance & Compliance, in De-Nile?

Roy Kennedy was the Labour party’s Director of Finance and Compliance when the illegal funding operation was under way. Guido has been trying to track him down with no success, nor can he get hold of his wife Alicia, who just happens to be Labour’s Deputy General Secretary.

Police investigators from Operation Minerva might need to pack some sun lotion, Guido has been told the couple have have taken a month long holiday in Egypt. The detectives will want to know from where the Loot-Was-Coming…

Bad In Westminster, Worse in Scotland

The press is having a field day with Donorgate, nobody believes that knowledge of the Labour party’s illegal funding operation was restricted to Peter Watt. Jon Mendelsohn says Abrahams was lying when he said Mendelsohn knew about it, and is suing the Evening Standard, Guido doesn’t believe Mendacious Mendelsohn (send writs to the usual address Jonny).
Guido has been trying to get hold of Roy Kennedy, who was the Director of Finance and Compliance when the illegal funding operation was under way, to ask him when he knew about it, with no luck. Presumably the investigating officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Minerva will have more luck.

In Scotland the situation is even worse, Wendy Alexander has broken the law, apologised, then lied, immediately been caught lying and is only still in position because Brown fears that if she goes others will be toppled. Westminster hacks are not really focusing on the Scottish aspect yet. Guido is because he believes she will be charged, grasp this, the leader of the Scottish Labour party will face criminal charges based on documentary evidence. Brown is so scared of the domino effect of his protege Dougie Alexander’s sister resigning, that he is resisting internal party pressure for her to go. Mad, it will be worse if she is charged in office.

Labour is trying to spread the blame, with “we’re all at it” spin lines. They keep referring to Lord Ashcroft, who makes all his donations to the Tories above board and has actually given less money than Labour’s Lord Sainsbury.

They also keep referring to “a breach of the rules”, no these are criminal acts, a breach of the law is not the same as cheating at Scrabble. They are now hiding behind the “we’re not going to give a running commentary on a police investigation” line (© T. Blair).

Another line they are using is that they have “given the money back”. They haven’t as yet. It is in any event likely to be confiscated by the Electoral Commission.

There is no real need for new laws or reviews, there is a need for politicians to simply not break the existing laws. If Labour figures had not circumvented the existing laws they would not be in trouble. The idea that this situation is just the result of one publicity shy donor is nonsense, it has nothing to do with Wendy Alexander’s problems or Harman’s second problem.

Harman’s re-mortgage of £40,000 is an illegally undeclared loan – made against her home’s presumably joint mortgage – to her leadership campaign. Technically the loan is in equal part her husband’s loan. Her husband is Jack Dromey, the Labour party Treasurer, so he has permitted an undeclared loan to be made to the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, a loan from him. That is prima facie an illegal loan by two of the very highest ranking officials. She broke not only the spirit but letter of the law – in two instances – the loan and the proxy donation. Harman, the former Solicitor General, should face charges as a consequence.

Is Harman Trying the "If I Go, You Go Too" Defence?

Guido is having difficulty understanding the maneuvering of the various Labour party players in the scandal. Dizzy is hinting that the source for the Evening Standard’s writ attracting story on Mendelsohn is the Harman nominating MP, Kevan Jones. He was

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Sainsbury v Ashcroft

It is worth noting when Labour MPs in marginal seats start bleating about Ashcroft’s money being a threat to democracy that they never mention Lord Sainsbury. He has actually given the Labour party, one way or another, some £15 million.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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