The Electoral Commission’s likely demand that UKIP forfeit £363,697 of donations may "ruin" Nigel Farage MEP’s party according to Brendan Carlin in today’s Telegraph. The repayment demand is much bigger than the party’s claimed annual income of approximately £250,000. Brendan Carlin, who was first on Fleet Street with the story, notes that the donations from retired bookmaker Alan Bown were illegal because Mr Bown failed to ensure he was on the electoral register at the time of his donation and UKIP failed to check that he was registered.
Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act of 2000 all illegal donations are not returned to the original donors but go to the Treasury. Alan Bown’s money will end up in Gordon Brown’s pocket.
And that brings us on to another Brown… If the Electoral Commission succeeds in reclaiming UKIP’s money there should be new pressure on the LibDems to forfeit the £2.4m that Michael Brown gave to Charles Kennedy’s 2005 election effort. That Mr Bown, always a UK resident and taxpayer, was ineligible to give to UKIP was something of a (not insignificant) clerical error. The vehicle that Michael Brown used to give to the LibDems was "fraudulent and never traded" (Times). Why one rule for UKIP and another for the LibDems?