If only SNP MEP Alyn Smith had known today’s news before he made his fateful decision to cave and apologise to Brexit Party chairman Richard “Smiler” Tice for claiming that his party was “shell company that’s a money laundering front”. Because now Tice and his pals have their work cut out ensuring that a whopping £2.5 million of donations really are permissible - that they’re not from foreign nationals. And not money laundering.
Strangely, this has so far only been reported by the Mirror - the right-leaning part of the press keeping quiet is a coincidence - putting Nigel “Thirsty” Farage’s latest self-promotion vehicle on the spot. The headline says it all: “Nigel Farage's Brexit Party ordered to check EVERY £25 donation for foreign cash … The Electoral Commission recommended the party make changes to their website to prevent overseas donors funding the party”.
And money laundering, not that there’s any of that, though. So what’s the deal? “The Party will be required to satisfy itself that every single £25 'supporter' fee was not from an impermissible source. If they can't, they'll have to either return it to the donor or hand it over to the Treasury”. And there was more.
“Nigel Farage has said that the majority of the party's funding has come from individual 'supporter' fees of £25 a time. But parties are only required to collect information on the source of donations over £500, so there’s no way of knowing whether someone has done that using PayPal. And there are no regulations at all governing cash given to political parties as ‘membership fees’, such as the £25 payment to register as a Brexit Party supporter”. So the Electoral Commission have made another recommendation.
“The Commission also recommended the party revamp its online system to require donors to provide addresses and contact details and only accept payments from cards that match the payer’s address … The report also include a lower-risk recommendation to separate the £25 supporter fees from other donations. This should be in place, the Commission say, within six months”. And the Farage Falange has no option but to comply.
If they don’t demonstrate that their donations are legitimate, the next time Tice reaches for his lawyers, he’ll get laughed out of court. The Brexit Party will, unless it proves there is no dodgy money, become a byword for dodgy money. He will have to do better than churn out dishonest drivel for the Murdoch Sun claiming that MEPs can’t do anything about proposed EU laws. Hello Richard - they can vote them down. It’s called democracy.
Squeaky burden of proof finger up the bum time
Meanwhile, the Mirror signs off by letting readers know “Electoral Commission Chief Exec Bob Posner told the Committee that any money that the party couldn't be sure is permissible should be returned - and any money that could not be returned would be handed to the Treasury. A spokesperson for the Brexit Party said they would be implementing the recommendations in full ‘to the best of our ability.’”
Well, mateys, if you don’t carry out those recommendations, you’re going to have to give part or all of that £2.5 million back. Or the next time someone uses a broadcast media appearance to accuse you of money laundering, you won’t have a leg to stand on.
What was that about suing all and sundry for dissing the Brexit Party? Yeah, right.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at