Tory MP lobbied support for £10,000 donation from 'Mongolian friend'
Daniel Kawczynski asked the Electoral Commission to permit the funding after returning from a trip to Mongolia.
According to documents, after returning from a trip to Mongolia, Daniel Kawczynski petitioned the Electoral Commission to approve the financing of £10,000 to his party organization from a "Mongolian friend", The Guardian reported.
Typically, the British constitution, under the Political Parties, Elections, and Referendums Act 2000, forbids parties from receiving funds from foreign donors, however, critics argue that there are loopholes that can be abused.
Days after his return from a trip to Mongolia serving as trade envoy, the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury, Daniel Kawczynski, contacted the independent electoral watchdog on April 20.
At the time, Kawczynski declined to identify the potential contributor and stated that he traveled to Mongolia on a frequent basis, both personally and as a trade envoy.
He requested a meeting with Shaun McNally, the watchdog's chief executive, to express his "concerns" about regulations that ban overseas donations and disclosed to the commission he did “not understand why British passport holders should be treated differently from foreign passport holders when it comes to political parties."
According to Kawczynski, "Many jurisdictions around the world" allow political donations from foreign passport holders, a fact that research from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, a UN observer, refutes. Over 70% of nations actually prohibit foreign financing of political parties.
Kawczynski's parliamentary email address was used to send the letter. According to the members' manual, the taxpayer-funded accounts should not be used "for activities that could be considered party political campaigning or fundraising."
He explained that his email was used because he “wanted to seek advice and clarification in my capacity as a regulated donee (a member of parliament)," adding that “throughout I have followed the prevailing law on political finance, and I took advice from the Electoral Commission to ensure that I do.”
When speaking to The Guardian, Kawczynski acknowledged that the payment was sent to his party organization rather than to him personally.
The email was forwarded to Sir Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 Committee, Simon Hart, the top whip, and Jo Churchill, another whips' office member with Kawczynski alleging that he shared them in his email as part of his efforts to "understand, ask, and challenge, collectively, with colleagues" the campaign funding regulations.
In May, chair of the independent committee on standards in public life, Lord Jonathan Evans, said the government needs to improve diligence checks to establish the true source of "donations", The Observer reported.
An Indian businessman, Karan Chanana, who is under investigation for fraud and money laundering, had donated more than £220,000 to the Conservative party.