Belfast Telegraph

£435k Brexit donation to DUP not reported to Electoral Commission

Constitutional Research Council (CRC) donated £425,622 to the DUP, which funded a series of pro-Leave adverts, including a high-profile wraparound ad in the Metro newspaper
Constitutional Research Council (CRC) donated £425,622 to the DUP, which funded a series of pro-Leave adverts, including a high-profile wraparound ad in the Metro newspaper

A £435,000 donation to the DUP from a pro-Brexit group was not reported to the Electoral Commission (EC), it has been revealed.

The BBC has reported that the Scottish unionist funding organisation 'Constitutional Research Council' (CRC) has been fined £6,000 for failing to report the donation.

However the EC accepted that the donation and it's donors were permissable.

CRC is chaired by Scottish conservative Richard Cook (pictured above).

The group's failure to report the donation was revealed in news correspondence from the Good Law Project, an anti-Brexit group.

After an investigation the EC ruled that there was "no reasonable excuse" for failing to report it, along with other political contributions and gifts recieved.

The DUP received the donation during the Brexit referendum campaign and spent £282,000 of the money on an advert in the Metro newspaper.

A BBC Spotlight programme asked questions about whether the DUP incurred joint spending with other EU referendum campaigners but did not declare it under a common plan.

Under Electoral Commission rules, groups are not allowed to work together in order to get around funding limits.

The DUP denied wrongdoing and always insisted it acted within electoral law.

A DUP advertisement that appeared in The Metro
A DUP advertisement that appeared in The Metro

Following the airing of the documentary in June, the Electoral Commission requested further evidence from BBC Northern Ireland but were told there was no other significant information other than what was in the programme.

In August the Electoral Commission announced that there were "no grounds" for an investigation into the issue.

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