Four more decisions from the Electoral Commission

October 9th, 2008 at 8:39 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Commision has released four more decisons – all quite interesting.

  1. Display of anti-national banners by was complained about by . The Commission found that the banner and associated leaflets were election advertisements under the EFA. Smith claimed to have made a verbal promoter statement of authorisation. The Commission rejected this as being adequate and said tangible items can not have merely verbal authorisation statements. Therefore they found the items contravened s63(2) of the . However they will not ask the Police to investigate Smith for an illegal practice as they found his breach was not wilful as he thought what he had done was necessary. And if does not constitute an illegal practice unless done wilfully.
  2. A Pete Hodgson fundraising letter for Labour. This was found to be an election advertisement in breach of s63(2) of not having an authorisation statement and 65(1) of not having been formally approved by the Labour Party. However once again they found the breach was not wilful and again no referral to the Police as it is not an illegal practice unless done willfuly.
  3. National MP Eric Roy’s advertisments in the Southland Express were complained about by Labour MP . The EC made said “The believes it is essential to democratic elections that parties can inform the public of the policies which will be implemented if elected and that, particularly in light of New Zealand Bill of Rights Act considerations, it would not be reasonable to regard mere statements of policy as election advertisements and subject to the restraints of the Electoral Finance Act.” They also said “Therefore the Commission is of the view that items which are accounts or reasoned criticisms of policy, or accounts or reasoned criticisms of actions or inactions, generally are not “reasonably” regarded as election advertisements as they are essential to informed democratic elections.“So what can’t you say? “The Electoral Commission considers that accompanying identification of the proponents of such items does not of itself convert the items into election advertisements, but disproportionate display of photographs, names or logos could do so. Other matters that might bring such items within the definition of an election advertisement include the addition of persuasive content which lack an information base such as party slogans, self promotion or unreasoned criticism of opponents, and exhortations to vote in a particular manner.” They cocnluded that ’s advertisements were not election advertisements under the EFA.
  4. National MP Chris Auchinvole’s website was complained about by . With similiar reasoning to above, the Electoral Commission found the website was not an election advertisement. So National continues to be one of the few parties to have never broken the new law.

In both the first two cases, illegal advertisements were published and the law was broken. But the finding of a lack of intent means no liability for the two individuals concerned.

Also of interest to some may be the news that as Kotahitanga Te Manamotu Hake Tiriti o Waitangi, the New Zealand Liberals, and the South Island Party all failed to register for the election, their $30,000 of was redistributed to all the smaller parties

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55 Responses to “Four more decisions from the Electoral Commission”

  1. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    “was complained about by Cameron Slater”

    Would that Cameron Slater be any relation to the Cameron Slater who used to pretend to be for free speech?

    Is he a hypocrite or just stupid?

    [DPF: Let me see if I understand this? Sonic believes that if you argued against a law being passed, you should never be able to complain against someone who breaks that law? Is that really what you think?]

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  2. theodoresteel (90 comments) says:

    Probably just interested in a fair playing field and adherence to the law.

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  3. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    My word sonic is flogging the level 9 overtime. I know who is stupid sonic. Do us favour and jump out the window!!

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  4. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Sorry did someone say something?

    Sorry my mistake, just another random internet nutter.

    So to get back on topic, why is a “defender of free speech” trying to get billboards taken down?

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  5. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Your mistake sonic began at birth.

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  6. hubbers (204 comments) says:

    Presumably Labour MP Pete Hodgson voted for the bill so he must have read it right? Or at least familiarised himself with the basic concepts?

    I wonder if I can use the I didn’t intend to speed defence next time I get a ticket.

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  7. Southern Raider (1,377 comments) says:

    Sonic don’t be a wanker.

    You’re party brought in the law and was backed by its supporters like yourself and Clinton.

    Live with the shit you created.

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  8. dave (985 comments) says:

    their $30,000 of broadcasting allocations was redistributed to all the smaller parties.
    Except the Kiwi Party, who didn’t bother to apply for allocations

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  9. coventry (307 comments) says:

    Speaking of shit, how much would TranzRail charge for delivery 2 tonnes of Kashins best to Mr Smiths door step ?

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  10. Mark Lloyd (8 comments) says:

    So to get back on topic, why is a “defender of free speech” trying to get billboards taken down?

    Just the illegal ones richard cranium

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  11. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Does Cameron still run that “free speech” site?

    Is so perhaps he should rename it, “freespeechformychumsbutnotforpeopleIdontlike.co.nz”

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  12. Mark Lloyd (8 comments) says:

    i doubt its as censored as the double standard free speech site though

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  13. theodoresteel (90 comments) says:

    no speech for everyone until the Government decides to regulate against in breach of the Bill of Rights, then well it’s only fair to trample on everyone equally.

    Perhaps sonic you should realise that you are one (apparently) advocating Clinton should not be held to account here. ie different freedoms for your chums?

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  14. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    The Electoral Commission’s basic argue is that Clinton Smith is the village idiot and because of this his actions can never be deemed to be willful. In other words the EFA is yet another law the rewards the stupid.

    Just as well the EFA has an effective shelf life of less than a month now.

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  15. pdm (842 comments) says:

    Am I right – two more Labour people have broken the law but are not being referred to the police.

    Gosh they are lucky, as is that Richards character who belted someone with a megaphone.

    Hubbers (40) just say you are a member of the Labour Party – you should be ok.

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  16. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Jeez Lesley Soper is a sad bitch. My mother rang today from the deep south to ask if the ‘survey’ being distributed by Soper around Invervegas would be considered election material.

    I said that given Soper won’t have time to analyse the answers before she’s back working as a leech, sorry, union rep, it probably doesn’t matter.

    Incidentally, she’s already been round her old unions looking for a job post-November 8! What a positive attitude!

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  17. clintheine (1,560 comments) says:

    Lack of intent by Clinton Smith? Nonsense. Clinton bloody well intended it. But his sheer stupidity must have convinced the Electoral Commission enough to think otherwise.

    Sonic – so are you for or against people complying with the law?

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  18. radar (319 comments) says:

    sonic supports the law but doesn’t think it should be enforced against the very people voted for it. That’s logical. Not.

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  19. Seamonkey Madness (328 comments) says:

    The Pacific Party vanette was parked on Taranaki Street this morning, plastered with TPF being their MP.

    How much does one of those puppies count toward the party spend?

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  20. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    If “unreasoned criticism of opponents” is against the law now, Sonic and Phool are going to need one hell of a lawyer

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  21. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    Justice American style:
    Palin email hacker in court

    “He wore handcuffs and ankle shackles while he entered his plea, AP said.”

    That’s the ticket. America takes its criminal justice system a little more seriously than the Electoral Commission in New Zealand does. No letting the village idiot off in the US.

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  22. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    OECD rank 22 kiwi

    Email hackers result in state funding being given to make plays in NZ. No charges when it’s in the best interest of the Labour party. Move on.

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  23. polemic (316 comments) says:

    Great to hear the Pacific Party being seen.

    Whilst I don’t agree with some principles that the Pacific Island people espouse I wish them well as they need representation for their people and I trust them more than I trust Helen!!!!

    TPF is someone who I respect because he alone had the intestinal fortitude turn away from Helengrads sick social engineering aims such as gay marriage etc
    He is still paying the ultimate price for his courage under frendly

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  24. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    “Whilst I don’t agree with some principles that the Pacific Island people espouse”

    You see Pacific Island people all believe the same things, they are one collective organism like the borg.

    BTW, still no defence of Cameron trying to shut down free speech?

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  25. Nomestradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    I see Clinton Smith has had another Key Derangement Syndrome day at The Standard. No posts on his wet bus ticket – what a surprise.

    So what did Smith have to say at the time under a at the time post provocatively titled “Pathetic”?

    Rather than discussing the quote from Bill English that he would sell Kiwibank, David Farrar is whining that the protest outside the National Party conference today breached the EFA because it did not contain authorisation.

    Once again, Farrar would rather try to attack on technicalities than deal in substantive issues, and once again he is wrong on the facts. The electoral advertisements in the protest were authorised by me at the start of the protest. Recorded on film, I stated my name and address and that the following electoral advertisements and accompanying materials were authorised by me. That satisfies the requirements of s63 of the EFA.

    Pathetic Farrar.

    [PS. I notice Farrar doesn't kick up a fuss when his mates protest without EFA authorisation. Principles, who needs 'em?]

    No doubt Hell will freeze over before DPF gets his apology.

    And, in a comment further down on that post, Smith says:

    As for the topic of this post, as you can see by looking at the surrounding posts, we usually avoid commenting on posts by blogs like farrar’s because frankly they’re irrelevant to the wider political discourse and I would rather talk about wages or parties policies. However Farrar’s post just got my goat because he’ll do anything to try to shut down voices of people he doesn’t agree with, yet he has the cheek to call himself a free speech campaigner. He constantly attacks me and my fellow Standardistas, yet every time, every time, his facts are wrong.

    The EFA: the law of common sense!

    *Snigger*

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  26. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Excuse me but could someone translate the above into English?

    Unlike “Nomestradamus” we are all not fluent in gibberish.

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  27. Nomestradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    Sorry – didn’t quite fix the HTML formatting in time.

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  28. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    I think that is the least of your problems with that post Nomestradamus….

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  29. Nomestradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    Sonic:

    Don’t be a moron – the HTML formatting didn’t quite work.

    If Steve Pierson aka Clinton Smith attacked DPF as vigorously as he did, and has subsequently been found to have breached the law, an apology would be in order. Particularly when he accused DPF of being factually mistaken. Or do you think otherwise?

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  30. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    As I said, it was not only the html formatting that did not work.

    However if English is your third language, your tortured syntax is understandable.

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  31. pdm (842 comments) says:

    Sonic – I am not as au fait with the Electoral Law, past and present, but here is my understanding of it.

    Prior to 31 December 2007, under the law that applied until then, Smith would not have committed an offence.

    From 1 January 2008 written authorisation was required as the law had chnged. Therefore Smith committed an offence.

    He sits in the same category as drunk driver who was picked up following a `star555′ call.

    In this case Cameron Slater made the call – fair cop – and no breach of Freedom of Speech as had Smith complied with the law no complaint would have been made.

    Now please go home – we taxpayers cannot afford these days to pay you overtime.

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  32. Nomestradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    Sonic:

    I see you’re too busy trolling to respond to the substance of my post. If you can’t debate like an adult, then run along and play with the children.

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  33. DamnedAngry (242 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t bother asking Sonic to ‘think’ as that would require at least some level of brain power, which he seriously lacks.

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  34. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    Why shouldnt the opponents of the EFA use the law against the haters of free speech that promoted it, pushed for it, and rejoiced when it was rammed through undemocratically?

    And who are those lefty morons kidding when they try to complain? It’s your law f**kers!

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  35. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    “still no defence of Cameron trying to shut down free speech?”

    So you are saying that the only reason to enforce the EFA is to shut down free speech? Interesting.

    Wouldnt it be a grand old world if only the people, such as Labour, the Greens and all their supporters, who supported a law designed to shut down free speech, such as the EFA, had their free speech shut down?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAAA!

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  36. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    I’ll leave you all to your weird use of the English Language and defense of utter hypocrisy.

    Just another day in the wacky world of Kiwiblog.

    And to think most sensible people say “I don’t bother wasting much time there anymore,”

    Go figure?

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  37. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    So has anyone complained about last nights NZ music awards when Mareko (spelling?) in his speech said yeah go Labour with the PM on the stage? Surely that’s promoting people to vote in a particular way, and I didn’t see a promoter statement. But I don’t think I know enough about the EFA to know if that breached it or not. Can someone clarify?

    Its starting to seem more than suspicious that Labour and its affiliates aren’t being referred for prosecution.

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  38. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    At the end of the day the EFA has been a failure for Labour. National will boot Labour out of office on 8 November and then ultimately John Key will control the rules for how the next election is conducted in 2011.

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  39. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    sonic, you got owned so badly in this thread, nothing you said made any sense, so just slink away and cry to someone else about how your own party created a law that … *sob* … isnt crushing the rights of the correct people.

    pwned by your own party

    i dont care who you are, that’s funny right there!

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  40. Lee (627 comments) says:

    Sonic,

    the only person being hypocritical here is you. Your party created the EFA to silence anyone who wants to critique the Left, and now your whining that one of you own got caught violating this pathetic law. Get a life. I couldn’t care less whether Cameron is contradicting himself or not, I’m just laughing my head off that one of your sicko Labourite scum bags got done by the very law his party created. Thats freaking hilarious!!!!!

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  41. Nomestradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    Sonic:

    Stop trolling and consider an analogous scenario.

    X thinks Sunday trading should be banned. Y thinks we should continue to have 7-day trading. X persuades the government to pass a law banning Sunday trading. The government obliges. Now X and Y happen to operate retail businesses in competition with each other (X still supports the ban on what he/she considers to be principled grounds). One Sunday shortly after the ban is implemented, Y observes X with the shop doors open, and complains to the Shop Trading Hours Commission. Slam dunk – an “open and shut case” of flouting the law (yes, awful pun).

    You would presumably argue that Y is a hypocrite, even though Y can’t legally open the shop doors? Y might happen to think: the law is an ass, but if X supports it, then hey the bad-ass law applies equally to X.

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  42. clintheine (1,560 comments) says:

    Sonic – you never answered my question. I feel it may answer your question:

    Are you for or against people complying with the law?

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  43. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Sonic

    “I don’t bother wasting much time there anymore,”

    That must explain your posts at:

    8.56
    9.01
    9.16
    11.07
    11.11
    11.13
    11.19
    11.37

    While I am at it, ‘anymore’ is normally written as two words, and sentences don’t end with a comma. If you are reduced to defending your position by criticising how others use the English language, that sort of thing is important.

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  44. Danny-boy (102 comments) says:

    Would that Cameron Slater be any relation to the Cameron Slater who used to pretend to be for free speech?

    So, by implication, yer concedin’ that the provisions of the EFA are antithetical ta free speech. Nice ta hear that admission from a lefty bastard. How’s that petard workin’ out for ya?

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  45. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    What sort of a jack-ass writes a law that you are allowed to break if you didn’t *intend* to break it? When the Armed Offenders Squad storm my house because there’s been an allegation of smacking can I say “I didn’t intend to breach section 59 of the Crimes Act”? No, because ignorance of the law is not a defence (s25), and because the Interpretation section says that the law applies to anyone who breaks it.

    I’m no fan of the Electoral Finance Act, but it does illustrate the gross incompetence of Herr Helen, H2, and whoever else wrote it.

    http://www.kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com

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  46. CraigM (692 comments) says:

    How embarrasing it must be to be Sonic and have to publicly make comments that just don’t make sense, just to protect an ideaology that doesn’t make sense.

    I wonder what it will take for a Labour Party supporter to actually be charged with an offence under this law they were so keen to pass. I was always under the impression that ignorance of the law was no excuse. I also thought that “honestly Sir, I didn’t intend to break the law, it just happened” wasn’t an excuse either.

    How can anyone take this law seriously, when so many can break it and no one gets charged?

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  47. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    They could have used chronic at Dien Bien Phu. They had use for the terminally stupid willing to defend the indefensible.

    And there’s the happy side benefit of the snivelling dribble of Caledonian cow spittle might have stopped a bullet and spared us his efforts of tuning New Zealand in Socialist Scotland V2.0

    Go shit on someone else’s country McDickhead, this one’s ours.

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  48. glubbster (345 comments) says:

    DPF, I wouldn’t be so sure that National has not broken the EFA. It is so easy to break this “common sense” law that it is inevitable. With 64 or so electorate candidates plus list only candidates, I would be very surprised if you were correct. In saying that it is ironic yet expected that the muppets who passed this flawed legislation would be the very ones to break it first and repeatedly.
    However, the technical breaches (so long as they are not wilful) are not crucial. What is crucial for the electorate candidates at least is the $20,000 spending limit. Go over this and you lose your seat. It is a strict liability offence (some people do not know this). The only way to get around this once you are shown to be over $20,000 is to show a complete absence of fault (a high burden of proof). Expect electoral petitions on this ala Peters v Clarkson.
    Also expect National and Labour to look closely at each other re the Party Vote spending. National will have made sure they are crystal clean so as to not lose an election they are likely to win, but will need to be vigilent in the final month. Labour? Anyone’s guess.

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  49. Joker (40 comments) says:

    I wonder how Clinton Smith would feel about the EFA if his address at 16a Highbury Road, Wellington got visited by unpleasant people who disagreed strongly with his political points of view and only knew how to track him down because of the authorising statement?

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  50. Ross Miller (1,624 comments) says:

    Sonic … the intelligent voice of the modern Labour Party whinging about being caught out but secure in the knowledge that the Electoral Commission don’t have the balls to refer the breeches (Labour ones especially) to the police for further action.

    And talking about ‘balls’ why Sonic don’t you have gonads to post under your real name or would that compromise your position as a Parliamentary staffer?

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  51. Ramsay (123 comments) says:

    Hodgson is said to be Labour’s expert on the EFA – WHOOPSIE Pete!!!!!!!!! Looks like he is as much an expert on the EFA as Cullen is on the Economy…………..

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  52. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    FFS, is “sonic” really that thick that he thought he had a valid point, or did he think we were that thick that we would believe he had one? Nomestradamus, you really have the patience of a saint, going to the trouble of composing that nice analogy at 11.57 PM. Sonic either understood that already, or he never will.

    This concept of whether something was done “wilfully” or not, is intriguing. Is it only right-wing conservatives and Christian fundamentalists who will be deemed to actually know what they are doing at any time? If so, we’d better have a government made up of them.

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  53. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “This concept of whether something was done “wilfully” or not, is intriguing.”

    That’s being extremely kind. What it really means is that the whole damn law is utter worthless Klark/ Labour bullshit. Try saying you weren’t “wilfully” speeding next time you drive over the limit without realising it and get ticketed, and see how far it gets you.

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  54. glubbster (345 comments) says:

    Redbaiter you need to be careful before you put down a knee-jerk post like that (and in general). PhilBest, I dont think it is intriguing either unless we want to make criminals of a number of our politicians for technical and trifling breaches of the poorly drafted EFA. Too much hyperbole. While I agree the EFA is a joke & a mess, the criminal law requires a mental element as well as committing the offence itself. Speeding is a strict liability offence.
    If you want to make the EFA even worse and make those offences strict liability then the police will be very busy indeed. Electoral law is taken very seriously and this is why there is a higher mental element threshold and more severe penalties.
    I bet that even some National & Act MP’s have made the odd EFA breach. DPF is in disneyland if he thinks otherwise.
    However, the penalty for exceeding $20,000 for an electorate candidate is loss of seat. This offence is strict liability since otherwise it would be too hard to prove someone did or did not know about every piece of their spending.

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  55. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    Let me explain a little further why I am intrigued, Glubbster. Who decides whether or not the benefit of the doubt whether something was done “wilfully” or not, will be granted or withheld, and how is this consistent with Magna Carta? You might as well just bring back King John I and let him rule by whim and caprice again. Funny, but a few centuries of legal jurisprudence in our culture have not regarded this as a good idea.

    I am waiting for the results of the first Christian Fundamentalist to breach this legislation. Or have they all been intimidated into inaction? Hmmmm, don’t say that is what all this was MEANT to do, intimidate only the government’s political foes, while assuring their allies that “the law of common sense” would be wheeled out any time it was required?

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