Hain in more donations trouble: tens of thousands went undeclared

The Guardian reports more trouble for Labour politician Peter Hain:

Peter Hain will be forced to admit that he failed to declare tens of thousands of pounds worth of donations from businesses and unions when he stood for the deputy leadership of the Labour party, the Guardian has learned.

The disclosure will reopen the controversy over Labour party funding and is likely to anger Gordon Brown, who has begun the new year hoping to reinvigorate his government and draw a line under the donors issue, which is currently been investigated by Scotland Yard …

Such is the scale of the under-reporting that some political sources believe Hain’s political future rests on his being able to show that he is the innocent victim of chaos within his election organisation, and that there has been no deliberate attempt to conceal the sources of the donations.

He had been urged by close colleagues to make a full disclosure before Christmas, reflecting tensions within the team over the conduct of the campaign.

The commission has told the Guardian that it intends to investigate the failure to declare the money and could impose a fine on Hain for making an inaccurate declaration of the donations at the end of July, or for late reporting of the money. Under electoral law he is personally responsible for submitting correct accounts – unlike in parliamentary elections, where the agent is the responsible figure.

The BBC has followed up the Peter Hain story, adding that:

The Neath MP, who is also Welsh Secretary, revealed at the end of November that he had failed to register a £5,000 donation from Jon Mendelsohn, Labour’s chief fundraiser.

Then at the beginning of December, Mr Hain said other donations to his campaign “were not registered as they should have been”, including a £1,300 campaign dinner …

In a fresh statement following the Guardian’s allegations, Mr Hain said: “As I said in December, as a result of administrative failings within my campaign there were donations to my deputy leadership bid which were not registered within the normal time, to the Electoral Commission.

“Since December I have undertaken a full audit of all donations to the campaign and have agreed with the Electoral Commission to provide the details of these late declarations to them, by the middle of January.

“I reiterate that this is deeply regrettable and I sincerely apologise.”

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