The Electoral Commission has cleared the UK Independence Party (UKIP) of breaking rules in 2015 and 2016, after a two-year investigation.
The regulator ruled the party, then led by Nigel Farage, did not take donations from impermissible sources ahead of the general and European elections and stayed within the rules.
Mr Farage joked on his LBC radio show Tuesday night that the news had not received sufficient attention in the mainstream media. He also implied the Electoral Commission is biased, saying he does not “think much” of the body.
“Did anyone see that on the news?” he blasted. “That, after two years of agony, I came out with a clean bill of health? You will not see that anywhere!”
The watchdog was primarily investigating if UKIP took “impermissible donations” from the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), an MEP grouping, and the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe (IDDE).
The European Parliament had alleged the ADDE and IDDE misused more than €500,000 (£445,000) of EU funding, including on polling ahead of the 2015 general election and EU referendum said to benefit UKIP.
The Commission said: “While the ADDE and IDDE polling paid for by EPB (European Parliament Bureau) grant money was on topics relevant to UKIP, we did not conclude that it was done to help UKIP, or that UKIP received any of the outputs from the work.
“Therefore, the polling work was not a donation to UKIP under UK political finance rules.”
— Michelle Moons (@MichelleDiana) March 10, 2015
They added: “We found insufficient evidence that the polls were commissioned to be for the benefit of UKIP and no evidence that UKIP received or benefited from any of this work.”
Bob Posner, Director of Political Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel at the Electoral Commission, commented:
“We undertook a thorough investigation that involved analysing a significant volume of evidence, as well as conducting interviews with a number of individuals.”
He added: “We were not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that UKIP took impermissible donations in this case.”
Last week, the High Court ruled that the Electoral Commission had issued incorrect advice to the Vote Leave campaign during the referendum and incorrectly fined campaigners and referred them to the police.
The Commission was slammed as “biased” and their blunder led to Vote Leave and other Leave campaigners becoming embroiled in an expensive legal battle spanning the past two years, fueling claims the pro-Brexit side cheated.
UK Elections Watchdog Under Fire After 40% of Board Members Display Anti-Brexit Bias
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 2, 2018