Brexit Party funding investigation

James made this Freedom of Information request to Electoral Commission

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Electoral Commission,

I note that on the eve of European Elections, a number of news outlets are reporting that the Electoral Commission visited the offices of the Brexit Party to investigate their funding.

I would like to know how the press found out about this visit. Did the commission inform the press officially or announce it publically? Did someone leak the investigation?

Yours faithfully,
James Harvey.

Karim Aziz, Electoral Commission

Hi James, thank you for your email to the Electoral Commission. We believe that your request can be treated outside of the FOI process.

We issued the statement below to the media.

Commenting on reports about The Brexit Party’s ability to ensure donations received via its website are from a permissible source, an Electoral Commission spokesperson said:

“The Brexit Party, like all registered political parties, has to comply with laws that require any donation it accepts of over £500 to be from a permissible source. It is also subject to rules for reporting donations, loans, campaign spending and end of year accounts. We have already been talking to the party about these issues.

“As part of our active oversight and regulation of these rules, we are attending the Brexit Party’s office tomorrow to conduct a review of the systems it has in place to receive funds, including donations over £500 that have to be from the UK only. If there’s evidence that the law may have been broken, we will consider that in line with our Enforcement Policy.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

1. Donations to political parties and non-party campaigners of £500 or less are outside the legal donations framework of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). What that means is that there is no legal requirement for these donations to be reported to the Electoral Commission.
2. It is an offence to attempt to evade the controls on donations. This includes where it appears that a donor is attempting to evade the rules set out in PPERA by making a series of small donations. The Commission has a published Enforcement Policy on our website which sets out the evidence threshold that needs to be met for us to consider looking into an allegation.
3. The Commission has a factsheet on Crowdfunding and permissibility of donations: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_...
4. In its June 2018 report on digital campaigning the Commission recommended improvements to controls on donations and loans should be considered by the UK Government and Parliament. The report states that some of the tools that businesses use for risk assessment and due diligence on customers could also be considered as part of the rules for campaigners at elections and referendums in the UK. These kinds of changes could help to make sure that foreign money is not used in UK election and referendum campaigns, including in digital campaigns.

Kind regards

Karim Aziz

Media Relations Manager
The Electoral Commission

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