Monday, January 14, 2008

Mystery of Missing Clients

The two PR firms involved in donations to Hain’s campaign had something very interesting happen when Hain’s donor troubles hit the headlines. As you can see from the above screenshots, things started disappearing. Counter-productively for them this intrigued Guido. Morgan Allen Moore’s client list disappeared and T M Communications entire website went offline – which is strange for experts in “technology and communications”.

So Guido started digging around for their client lists. That is how the coincidence between Steve Morgan’s client Tesco and Hain’s “Every Little Helps” endorsement was uncovered.

TM Communications are not registered lobbyists with the APPC so their client list wasn’t on the register. It took some investigative digging to find a client list already in the public domain from their now deleted website. Their clients include Newport Networks, The Professional Golfers Association, and investment group Wesley Clover.

Newport Networks was set-up by Welsh billionaire Sir Terry Matthews, who is also the chairman of Wesley Clover and his Celtic Manor Golf Resort will be hosting the PGA Ryder Cup in 2010.

TM Communications say that their £1,500 donation to Hain’s campaign was made by them “on behalf of the directors and shareholders”. Not Sir Terry, he “doesn’t do politics”.

More Questions Asked About Hain’s Corporate Endorsements

Chris Grayling has written to Peter Hain listing pertinent questions. As has been pointed out previously on this blog, under the terms of electoral law, to be permissible, any company, such as the faux think tank, Progressive Policies Forum Limited, has to be actually trading in the UK.

Grayling ask what PPF’s “status actually is, what due diligence your campaign carried out into it, and what involvement you have had with it?”

He also asks about the corporate endorsements highlighted on here over the last week
“In your statement on Saturday afternoon you said that you had ‘checked with my Permanent Secretary whether there is any conflict of interest’. This statement raises more questions than it answers – questions it is essential you answer fully and urgently:

· I assume that ‘Permanent Secretary’ here refers to the Department for Work and Pensions; who have you contacted in the Wales Office to make the same checks regarding conflicts of interest?

· Have you discussed with the Permanent Secretary at the DWP and appropriate officials in the Wales Office comments you have made supporting Picture Financial Services, Tesco, the Cuddy Group, and indeed any other companies you have endorsed as a minister?

· When did you first make the Permanent Secretary at the DWP and appropriate senior officials in the Wales Office aware that donations to your deputy leadership campaign had been made by Neville Allport (CEO of Picture Financial), Steve Morgan (whose lobbying firm represents Tesco) and Mike Cuddy (Managing Director of Cuddy Group)?”

The conflict-of-interest aspect is the subject of Guido’s complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. It is a fascinating coincidence that donors to Hain’s Steve Morgan run campaign as well as clients of Morgan-the-Organ’s lobbying firm get gushing praise from their financial beneficiary – Peter Hain.

All too fascinating for Guido…

+++ Hain’s CLP Emergency Meeting +++

Disorganised or Destabilised?

Emily Thornberry, the former Trotskyite turned property developing MP, was on Radio 4. She defended Hain on the grounds that he was obviously disorganised and the proof of that was that his campaign strategy and budget details were revealed last year on this blog. Guido would contend that it was good investigative journalism that got the stories on here that so destabilised his campaign. What does it say about him as a Minister when the best defence his colleagues can proffer is that he is disorganised and chaotic?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Labour Rank and File Disown Hain

The Sunday Times reports members of Hain’s campaign urging him to quit. The rumblings in the rank and file don’t sound any better. Looking around the Labour blogosphere there is no comfort for the embattled Hain:-

Paul Burgin, a party press officer for the N. E. Herts CLP writes “Hain Must Go…he should hand in his resignation first thing on Monday”. Highbury CLP’s Tim McLoughlin has questions, “If he is unable to run his own small office effectively, how can one expect him to properly manage the Department for Work and Pensions?”

Susan Press, a Labour Deputy Mayor, writes “In life we all make mistakes. So I admit to serious misjudgment in voting for Peter Hain as Deputy Leader.” The “bogus think-tank” is the last straw, she doesn’t believe a word he says.

Even LabourHome’s usually on-message Alex Hilton reckons it “untenable that he will remain in his position for another week and the end of his ministerial career is probably only awaiting the Prime Minister’s deliberations on the implications for a full-scale reshuffle.” On the left Andrew Coates complains “that he has the gall to explain away his gaff of trousering a mere £100,000 by means which would get him imprisoned were he to do the same as a Claimant under the system of his own Department of Work and Pensions… Meanwhile Hain is found out as Mister Well-lined Pockets himself.” David Osler, a left-wing friend of old, regrets that once “I did at least accord you a certain degree of genuine respect as a radical reforming politician. I don’t think I like what time and high office has done to you.”

It is also noticeable that not a single Cabinet Minister has defended Hain…

Every Little Endorsement Helps :Another Company Endorsed for Hain’s Fundraiser

Hain’s chief fundraiser is the sleazy lobbyist Steve Morgan. His biggest client is Tesco, so is it any surprise that Hain was pictured promoting Tesco? No.

This is the third identified corporate endorsement with cash links to Hain. (Picture Financial Services and Cuddy both got Hain’s endorsements, he got their cash). Morgan gave £5,000 of his in part Tesco derived earnings to Hain’s campaign. Which Morgan then forgot to declare…

The press release sent out by the DWP was headlined “Every Little Helps”. The somewhat thin justification for his civil service department doing corporate PR slogans for Tesco was that they had employed previously unemployed workers. The evidence is that Peter is always willing to help out with PR for donors…

Saturday, January 12, 2008

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…

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…

Friday, January 11, 2008

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.


Seen Elsewhere

5 Things We Learned From Guido’s Party | GQ
Revealed: Guido Fawkes Anniversary Dinner Guestlist | Peter Oborne
More Owen Jones Errors | Michael Ezra
Why Should Men Get Equal Maternity Leave? | Laura Keynes
Dentists Have Last Laugh Over Sneering Keynes | FT
Why’s Clegg Giving Men Paternity Leave? | Conservative Women
Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges


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