Tech

Vote Leave broke campaign spending rules: report

The official Brexit campaign group Vote Leave faces a possible fine after a draft report by the U.K.s Electoral Commission found that it broke campaign spending rules by sending money to a separate campaign that spent it with a data analytics firm, the BBC reported.

The report follows accusations from several whistleblowers who claimed the group made a £625,000 donation to pro-Brexit youth campaign BeLeave in order to skirt campaign spending limits, and that the money went directly to data analytics firm AggregateIQ, thus enabling Vote Leave to retain control of the donation.

Former Leave Chief Executive Matthew Elliot said in an interview with Sky News that the courts preliminary report amounts to a “huge breach of natural justice.” The court, which he said has refused to consider evidence produced by the Leave campaign, had only listened to the accounts of “fantasists.”

“Theyve listened to these, quite frankly marginal characters who came out in March, and listened to their stories, but havent had evidence from Vote Leave side of things,” Elliot said. “We are the people who could give them the facts, rather than basing all their opinion on the fantasists.”

Elliot said Vote Leave campaign spending was in line with electoral rules — which set a limit of £7 million for the two main campaign groups in the Brexit referendum — and that the campaign had submitted a 500-page rebuttal to the Electoral Commission on Tuesday.

“They havent found a smoking gun,” Elliot said. “If [the Electoral Commission] follow due process, if they are fair, they will find us innocent.”

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