Monthly update – concluded investigations

Summary

Details of the investigations concluded in the last month have been published today by the Electoral Commission. This is an important part of delivering transparency in political finance in the UK.

Following an investigation into Plaid Cymru’s quarterly donation reports, the Commission has fined the party £29,000 for reporting failures. The investigation found that the party submitted nine inaccurate reports over a two year period, omitting a total of 36 cash donations worth more than £497,000. The party reported the donations in May 2018. 

The Commission’s investigations pointed to a lack of effective internal processes, which led to a failure to understand the reporting requirements.

Investigations where offences were found and sanctions imposed: 

Name and type of regulated entityWhat was investigatedOffences foundDecision taken
Plaid Cymru (registered political party) Failure to deliver accurate quarterly donations reports    Failure to submit accurate quarterly reports of donations (9 instances)£29,268 total variable monetary penalties (9 separate penalties) due for payment by 2 March 2020  

 

Quote

Commenting on the fines imposed, Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation, said: 

“The total number and value of donations omitted from Plaid Cymru’s quarterly reports is significant and reveals a substantial degree of non-compliance. Plaid Cymru is a well-established party and it should be able to meet its reporting obligations. 

“It is vital that voters can see full and accurate financial records that show where a political party’s money comes from. Plaid Cymru’s sustained failure over a two-year period to understand and meet its legal duties led to a disappointing lack of transparency into the party’s finances.

“Voters can have confidence that, where parties fail to comply with the rules and there is no reasonable explanation, we will take action.” 
 

Other Investigations

Investigations where no sanctions were imposed:

Name and type of regulated entityOffences investigatedOffences found    Decision taken
 
Campaign Against Pedestrianisation of Oxford Street 
(registered political party)
Late delivery of 2018 statement of accountsLate delivery of 2018 statement of accountsNo sanction 
Arts party
(registered political party)
Late delivery of 2018 statement of accountsLate delivery of 2018 statement of accountsNo sanction
Mr Andy Street
(regulated donee)
Failure to deliver donations reports within 30 days of acceptance of donationsNo offencesNo sanction


Forfeiture Decisions

In both cases the individuals accepted donations from impermissible sources. No investigations were carried out after the voluntary forfeiture of the full value of these donations. 

Name and type of regulated entityOffences investigatedOffences found  Decision taken
Sarah Wollaston (UK Parliamentary General election candidate, December 2019)No investigation was carried outNo determination of offenceVoluntary forfeiture of donations
Ashley Dalton (UK Parliamentary General election candidate, December 2019)No investigation was carried outNo determination of offenceVoluntary forfeiture of donations

Ends

Ends

Notes to editors

1.    The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

2.    This release forms part of the Commission’s regular monthly investigations update, an important part of its commitment to deliver transparency in political finance in the UK. Information of this nature is published routinely on the third Tuesday of each month. Details for sanctions from previous months are available.


3.    Penalties imposed by the Commission go into the Consolidated Fund. This is managed by HM Treasury and not the Electoral Commission.