Skip to comments.NYC Mayor Bloomberg ['s company] made [dodgy] donations to [the UK's lefty] Labour [Party]
Posted on 06/07/2004 5:00:17 PM PDT by NativeNewYorker
Bloomberg, the American financial media company owned by the billionaire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has made a series of donations to British political parties despite a law banning contributions from foreign corporations.
The media giant has bypassed the rules by setting up shell companies registered in the UK and using them to make donations.
Since 2001 Bloomberg has made three cash donations to Labour worth a total of £51,113, according to records at the Electoral Commission, the political watchdog.
The records also reveal that Bloomberg provided two other donations to Labour classed as "sponsorship" worth a total of £11,548 in the same period. Bloomberg also made a cash donation to the Liberal Democrats of £16,156 in October.
"I don't think it's in keeping with the spirit of the law," said David Butler, a politics fellow at Nuffield College who was among academics who campaigned for the establishment of the Electoral Commission to regulate party funding.
He said details of the donations might justify a change in the rules. "The finance laws need continual fine-tuning because people find ways around them."
The rule banning donations by foreign companies was introduced by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, but the act has been criticised for not being comprehensive enough.
Documents at Companies House reveal details of a shell company called Bloomberg UK Ltd that has been used to make several donations to Labour.
The most recent accounts, for 2002, state: "The principal activities of the company is [sic] that of an investment holding company and also making political contributions."
The filing also states that Bloomberg is its immediate parent company and lists three directors, including Lex Fenwick, the chief executive of the media giant.
A second company, Bloomberg Euro, was used to make a donation of £19,388 to Labour last year. The company has since been dissolved.
Details of Bloomberg's donations also raise questions over how corporate sponsorship is recorded and classified.
A Bloomberg spokesman said that over the past two years the media company made equal contributions to the three main UK political parties in the form of sponsorship of events at political conferences, but declined to give further details.
But the Electoral Commission's register of donations has no details of Bloomberg making donations to the Conservative Party.
A spokesman for the Conservative Party said that, unlike Labour, its conferences were organised by a separate company, CCO Conferences Ltd.
Any sponsorship payments are made to CCO Conferences Ltd rather than the party and as a result are not declared as donations.
This is despite the fact that profits made by CCO Conferences Ltd are used to fund future party conferences.
A not so closeted, hefty lefty; A bloomin' idjit.