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August 02 2010


HelpMeInvestigate.com looks at campaign expenses after Goldsmith case

Crowdsourcing website HelpMeInvestigate.com has launched probes into MPs’ campaign expenses. The move follows Channel 4′s investigation into Zac Goldsmith, who is alleged to have exceeded the spending limit set for his Richmond constituency.

So far, the focus has fallen on the closely-fought Edgbaston race, where Labour’s Gisela Stuart held her seat with a reduced majority of 1,274, but investigations have also begun in other Birmingham constituencies and in Brighton.

Posting on the HelpMeInvestigate.com blog, the site’s founder Paul Bradshaw said he was undergoing this investigation after Goldsmith and the Conservative Party claimed that they were justified in only accounting for election materials that were used in the campaign, as opposed to materials that were not used as they had become out-of-date.

“We want to see if this is true. Are other candidates not claiming for the expense of ‘unused’ materials? Or is Goldsmith an exception?” writes Bradshaw.

“We’ve started one investigation in Birmingham but would really welcome sister investigations in other towns and cities.”

The website is currently in beta testing, meaning new users can only access the site after requesting an invite.

HelpMeInvestigate on campaign expenses at this link.Similar Posts:

July 20 2010


Election campaign expenses – an online investigation

Last week Channel 4 and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism “raised questions” over the election campaign expenses of Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, specifically the practice of claiming partial expenses on the grounds that ‘not all material was used’.

The response from Goldsmith and the Conservative Party seemed to argue that this was standard practice. “The examples raised could be seen in the returns of other candidates.”

So I decided to obtain the expenses receipts for two of the most closely-fought campaigns in Birmingham, and put them online, with the invitation for others to take a look to see if that is indeed true.

And now the receipts for the election campaigns of Gisela Stuart (Lab) and Deirdre Allen (Con) for Edgbaston can be found at EdgbastonElectionExpenses.posterous.com

Here’s the plan:

Alternatively, you can start your own investigation into your own local election candidates. Here’s how to do that.

Remember, finding nothing is still a finding, as it challenges Goldsmith’s story.

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