Sunlight COPs Makes New Complaint About Hain’s Lobbyist / Campaign Manager

The lobbyist at the centre of the police investigation into Peter Hain’s mysterious campaign funding is the subject of a complaint to the Association of Professional Political Consultants for ethics breaches. This is the second complaint made to the self regulatory association after Morgan Allen Moore threatened action for libel against the first complainant – James Davenport – who under legal pressure and unable to afford legal action he withdrew his complaint without apologising, paying any damages or admitting any error.

Sunlight is better resourced and has taken up Davenport’s case in what we feel is an important test of the political lobbying industry’s ability to keep itself in order ethically and legally.

Press release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ANTI-CORRUPTION N.G.O. LODGES OFFICIAL COMPLAINT
ABOUT PETER HAIN LOBBYIST STEVE MORGAN

The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has lodged an official complaint against lobbying agency Morgan Allen Moore and its Chairman, Steve Morgan.

The move comes after documentary evidence revealed use of the company’s facilities to assist Peter Hain’s campaign for election as deputy leader of the Labour Party.

In a letter to the Association of Professional Political Consultants – the industry body for lobbyists – the Centre for Open Politics said:

“the provision of campaigning and fund raising efforts by Morgan Allen Moore staff and directors to Peter Hain’s campaign is a benefit in kind.

“The provision of these facilities can clearly be construed as “a favour” under part 7 of the Code to a person in public life (Peter Hain). The provision of campaign favours such as the collection of donations via the MAM office does not seem compatible with part 12 of the Code.

“It is also not clear to us how the widely reported donation of £5,000 by Steve Morgan to Peter Hain’s campaign is compatible with the Code of Conduct. Please advise by return the procedure to be followed to progress this complaint.”

The Centre for Open Politics decided to lodge the complaint following the forced withdrawal of a similar complaint lodged by a private individual. It has been widely reported that Morgan Allen Moore abused the legal process to force the withdrawal.

A spokesman for the Centre for Open Politics said:

“It is clear from the information we have to hand that Morgan Allen Moore, and Steve Morgan in particular, committed multiple breaches of the rules set down by the APPC to govern the conduct of lobbyists. We do not believe that a big lobbying company like Morgan Allen Moore should abuse the courts to pressurise a private person into withdrawing a justified complaint about their conduct. As such, we have decided to submit a complaint about Morgan Allen Moore’s conduct ourselves.

“This case highlights everything that is wrong with today’s relationship between big lobbyists and politicians. The Centre for Open Politics will always challenge corruption and sleaze wherever it finds it.”

The Centre for Open Politics submitted its complaint to the APPC today.

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