A UKIP donor, who has lived and worked in the UK all of his life, does not fill his Electoral Register form and the Electoral Commission decide that UKIP must repay (to the Treasury) the entirety of Alan Brown's donations for the year 2005.
In a letter sent to Bruce Lawson, the Ukip treasurer, the commission confirmed that it “will be proceeding to apply to court for the forfeiture of £363,697 in respect of 68 donations from Mr Bown made during the period December 2004 to January 2006”.
... and contrast...
The Lib Dems receive a donation of £2.4 million from a convicted fraudster based overseas, and the Electoral Commission considers that the party has no case to answer.
The Electoral Commission has previously made clear its view that it was reasonable for the Liberal Democrats - based on the information available to them at the time - to regard the donations they received from 5th Avenue Partners Ltd in 2005, totalling just over £2.4m, as permissible.
It remains the Commissions view that the Liberal Democrats acted in good faith at that time, and the Commission is not re-opening the question of whether the party or its officers failed to carry out sufficient checks into the permissibility of the donations.
It is not clear to the Commission that 5th Avenue Partners Ltd was carrying on business in the UK at the time the donations were made.
So, just to spell that out again: a clerical error regarding a British individual's electoral status (that UKIP could not possibly be expected to anticipate or, reasonably, even know about) results in the Electoral Commission deciding to claw back the money (which goes to the Treasury) and effectively bankrupt UKIP in the process.
But when the Lib Dems accept a massive sum from a donor, based overseas (and it is unclear whether the company was even carrying on business in Britain, i.e. it was just a shell), who is subsequently convicted of fraud, the Lib Dems "acted in good faith at that time".
Oh, yeah; that's really fair, isn't it? Um, I may be biased, but does anyone see any double standards here?
UKIP's statement is up at IndependenceHome.org.
UKIP Party Chairman John Whittaker said that the party is guilty of nothing more than "a simple clerical error which could have been easily rectified had it been known."
The Electoral Commission has taken the decision to apply for forfeiture of donations to the value of £363,697 from the UK Independence Party, saying that these donations were impermissible because the donor, Mr Alan Bown, was not on the Electoral Register between December 2004 and January 2006.
He was, however, on the register at his Kent address before this period and has also been on the register since January 2006. He was unaware that his name had been removed from the list during 2005. Mr Bown has been giving money to UKIP throughout this time with all of his donations properly reported.
Dr Whittaker said, "Mr Bown was entitled to be on the electoral register throughout the period in question, and has been a permanent resident and taxpayer in the UK all his working life. I don't believe the law was designed to catch out this sort of donor; it was intended to prevent dodgy overseas money being given to UK political parties.
"The UK Independence Party regrets this error. However, we point out that there was obviously no intent to breach or evade Section 54 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
"Had Mr Bown realised that his name had been removed from the electoral register, he could have completed the relevant form and immediately rendered himself a permissible donor.
"The decision by the Electoral Commission to confiscate this money based on nothing more than an honest mistake is astonishing."
Naturally, Iain Dale is over the moon and your humble Devil has responded by donating a ton to UKIP: you can donate something here, or at IndependenceHome.org, should you so desire. Or if you don't really desire but think that the Big Three have enough of a stranglehold on our political scene already and that bankrupting competitor parties is probably a bad thing for democracy.