In the news today are the affairs of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, which, it seems, has a charitable arm called the Politics and Economics Research Trust. So what? Well, the question has been raised as to whether the TPA is using this registered charity to channel donations and thereby gain tax relief on them. The use of any registered charity for political ends is forbidden.
The usual suspects have been quick to provide quotes, not least “Shagger” Prescott (“traditional misbehaviour in a modern setting”), who has asserted that the TPA is a Tory front organisation. As I said recently, this is not my reading: the TPA has many supporters who are Tories, but they will be kicking a Cameron Government just as hard as they kick Pa Broon if they don’t get their way.
Meanwhile it seems that the nice folks at the Charities Commission have opened a number (plural) of assessment cases and are examining the arrangements of the TPA and its charitable arm. Hopefully for the TPA, the burden of proof will be of a higher order than the “Dodgy Dossier” which alleged that the Government was paying for organisations to lobby it.