Political Donations

Profession:Herbert Smith
 
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ICSA Guidance on EU Political Donations from the UK

The ICSA has issued a Guidance Note on the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 which regulates companies making donations to EU political organisations.

The Guidance Note clarifies the new rules, in particular the definition of what constitutes a political donation. It also gives the ICSA's interpretation, having sought guidance from a number of individuals, the DTI and the Electoral Commission, on particular situations where companies have been concerned that they might inadvertently get caught. These include among other things, donations to lobby groups, sending representatives to Party Conferences and entertaining a politician or Minister of State.

The Guidance also clarifies the position on parent/subsidiary arrangements. Institutional investors were concerned that parent companies should not be able to avoid disclosure by moving political donations down the group chain. As a result, the legislation clearly states that no subsidiary may make a political donation within the definition of the legislation unless the parent has passed a 'subsidiary approval resolution in general meeting. Although it has been suggested that the same result could be achieved by allowing one resolution listing each subsidiary with its own approved amount, as the legislation stands, a separate subsidiary approval resolution is required for each relevant subsidiary, which could make for some lengthy general meetings.

The guidance can be found on the ICSA...

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