Electoral Commission reopens investigation into Vote Leave’s referendum spending

The Electoral Commission has reopened an investigation into Vote Leave’s EU referendum spending.

The campaign paid £625,000 to clear bills allegedly run up by university student Darren Grimes with a digital agency days ahead of last June’s vote … who set up a group called BeLeave, to give young pro-Brexit campaigners a voice during last year’s referendum.

As a registered campaigner, he was allowed to spend up to £700,000. He initially spent very little but in the 10 days leading up to the 23 June vote he ran up a £675,315 bill with AggregateIQ Data, a Canadian marketing firm that specialises in political campaigns.

Money to clear the bill was not given to Mr Grimes but sent directly to Aggregate IQ by Vote Leave…

Vote Leave would have gone over its campaign spending limit if it had spent the money it donated on behalf of Mr Grimes itself. [BBC]

The question is whether this sort of cycling of money via third parties is a legitimate way to avoid spending limits. But we do already know about a pattern of rules breaking by pro-Brexit campaigners:

UPDATE: The investigation found that Vote Leave broke the law. Fines were issued and the police called in.

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2 responses to “Electoral Commission reopens investigation into Vote Leave’s referendum spending”

  1. Was Canadian firm Aggregate Data IQ a UK resident company? Were its controllers and Directors UK residents or foreign?

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