The Charity Commission has overseen the return of a donation
of charitable money made by the charity Catz Club (known as
Schoolfriendetc.) to a political party, in breach of charity
On 29 August 2008, the Commission received a complaint from
a Member of Parliament about a £7,500 donation the charity
had apparently made to the Labour Party.
The Electoral Commission’s register confirmed that
the donation had been made, despite the fact that a charity
cannot make political donations or give other financial
support to a political party.
Given the seriousness of this issue, the Commission contacted
the charity as a priority, set out the legal position, and
ensured that the trustees of the charity acted immediately
to recover the donation.
Within three working days, the charity had secured the
return of the donation from the Labour Party.
The trustees have also undertaken to ensure that proper
safeguards are put in place to prevent this from happening
Given the public interest in this case, and the wider issues
that the Commission can highlight for other charities, the
Commission has also published a regulatory case report on
Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission,
said: “Donations to political parties are absolutely
prohibited for charities, so this was of serious concern
to us. That’s why resolving the issue was a priority,
and the charity confirmed the money would be returned to
it within days of the concern first being raised.
“This is a good result for the charity, and means
we don’t have to look at the question of liability
– in a similar situation, if an inappropriate donation
was not returned, we would require the trustees to personally
repay the misapplied funds so as to ensure that the charity
doesn’t lose out.
“We also think that it’s in the public interest
to explain why this was such a serious matter for us, which
is why we’ve also published the regulatory case report.”
The regulatory case report on Catz Club is available from
the Commission’s website at http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/investigations/inquiryreports/inqreps.asp.