Friday, April 30, 2010

Blair Under Charity Watchdog Spotlight

Desperate New Labour is being forced to resort to the Blair 'secret weapon' as a question mark hangs over his complex web of charities amid claims they are used to illegally to fund his political campaigning and canvass voters.

Cometh the hour - cometh the tan. Scrapping the bottom of the barrel, the discredited frail old charlatan has been wheeled out on the campaign trail, taking time out from counting his ill-gotten gains.

But all is not well with the Blair Witch Project.

The charity commission has announced an "investigation" that isn't an "investigation" into claims Blair's charities are supporting political activity, following a complaint from shadow treasury spokesman, Greg Hands.

The charity watchdog says it is considering claims that e-mail databases held by Blair's charities have been used to canvass voters.

Hands, a Tory PPC, said he had received e-mails in Blair's name urging him to vote - Labour. A Blair spokesman said the charities were "entirely separate from any political campaigning".

In a letter to Hands (click opposite to enlarge) the commission said it had "opened a case within our Assessment Unit". A statement added: "Concerns have been raised with the Charity Commission relating to the Tony Blair Governance Initiative. The commission is currently assessing these to see what role, if any, there may be for the commission in this matter."

Back on April 1, the Orange Party asked is Blair's charities illegally funding his new election campaign website using funds from his charities, which form part of his complex web of secret companies, as a cover to bang the drum for New Labour?

The complex ownership of Blair’s website is shrouded in secrecy, hidden behind sham shell companies. On the surface it seems cash from his charities are funnelled to the very company which runs his campaign website.

As the Orange Party pointed out at the time: "And that would break charity commission rules, make the move illegal once the election is called and downright dishonest if, heaven forbid, the Vicar's charities cash is channelled through off-shore tax-havens."

Tory calls for an inquiry into Blair's charities followed a Sunday Telegraph investigation with Hands who had been on the trail since before Blair left office.

The then Tory MP claims to have been receiving e-mails from "The Office of Tony Blair", using a unique email address, since December 2007, claiming they had been transferred from Downing Street to the Labour Party.

Claims that an e-mail address had been switched from Downing Street to a political party and Blair has been using his multi-million pound charities to try to help New Labour win the election is a serious accusation to make.

But booking himself in for a health check without a reality check, the jokes came thick and fast from the old snake-oil salesman, insisting at a Harrow health centre, New Labour has "every chance of succeeding" on May 6.

Today the charity watchdog was quick to point out "the issues had been raised about the charity and that they would assess these concerns but that it did not amount to an investigation."

When is an investigation not an investigation? When it happens in the final few days of a general election campaign.

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