Labour’s Jackie Baillie with Anas Sarwar campaigning at Vale of Leven Hospital.

By Bill Heaney

When it comes to putting your money where your mouth is by giving cash support to your candidate then Labour’s Jackie Baillie is twice as popular as the SNP’s Giugliano, who is taking her on in the Dumbarton constituency which includes Helensburgh, Vale of Leven and Lomond.

Political parties and candidates have raised over £400,000 through online crowd funders ahead of the Scottish elections, according to data compiled by The Ferret.

The investigative journalism bureau has revealed that Baillie’s campaign fund  has has benefited to the tune of £14,000 and Giugliano’s, pictured left, by only £7,000.

Parties told the Ferret that raising funds online was an essential way of reaching local supporters. But campaigners warned that while they could be “less elitist” they were also harder to track and must be carefully checked after the election to ensure compliance with election funding rules.

The Ferret’s analysis of the platform crowdfunder.co.uk revealed a series of potential breaches of the Electoral Commission’s guidance on crowdfunding.

Their data showed that in total £403,595 has been raised through the crowdfunder platform by 13 parties or individual candidates representing them.

The total is almost twice what was raised by Scottish candidates standing in the General Election in 2017.

According to the Electoral Commission political fundraising rules – that mean all donations over £50 must be checked to ensure they came from “a permissible” source – should be made clear on crowdfunding pages.

This usually means parties must check that the donation came from someone on the UK electoral register. Accepting a donation from an “impermissible source” can be a criminal offence.

The Electoral Commission guidance also states that parties and candidates should warn potential donors that even when they appear as “anonymous” on the site, their details may be published after all donations have been reported.

However The Ferret found 16 out of 108 crowdfunders made no mention of the rules, in breach of this guidance. A total of 11 SNP candidates fell into this category, including deputy party leader Keith Brown and former deputy leader Angus Robertson.

When The Ferret flagged this to the SNP the party re-issued guidance, asking candidates to update their pages accordingly.

Several independents also failed to declare the rules on their sites, along with candidates for Reform UK and the Scottish Family Party.

Two party-wide crowdfunders for Alba, launched by Alex Salmond last month – and which have raised over £50k – also failed to state the rules on their crowdfunder pages.

Scottish Labour meanwhile fronted its 30 crowdfunder pages with the names and images of individual candidates but added to notes that all donations were for the party.

It claims this means it only checks on donations of more than £500, the party limit rather than the lower limit of £50 used by all other candidates.

The Ferret asked the Electoral Commission to comment but it said only that in the case of anonymous donations parties “must collect sufficient information from every donor” to ensure “each donation is from a permissible source”.

The full story on this is on The Ferret website.

*This story was updated to make clearer that data was pulled from crowdfunder.co.uk

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One comment

  1. Quite quite incredible the amount of money raised by Alba through a crowd finder appeal.

    Yes the SNP got £194,151 with Labour securing around 3% of that in the amounts of £59,641.

    But look at Alba with £55,585 they have out of nowhere, in a party not even four weeks old raised nearly the same as the Labour Party.

    This very much tells you the level of support lurking for the Alba party. A new party, not four weeks old, and subject to a BBC / STV media black out, this is an incredible sum to have raised.

    Alba is I suspect going to do very well picking up the regional vote.

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