The Electoral Commission has dismissed Alex Salmond’s calls for Donald Trump to be investigated over claims he is to fund advertising targeting pro-wind farm candidates at Scottish local government elections.
The First Minister’s spokesman had called for the Electoral Commission to examine whether Mr Trump was in breach of election laws after a campaigner said Mr Trump plans to target councillors who have supported wind farms with a “massive advertising campaign”.
But the commission said it did not have the powers to regulate non-party campaigning at local elections in Scotland.
Susan Crosthwaite, chairwoman of the Communities Against Turbines Scotland, had revealed the move which also provoked Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie to call for an inquiry yesterday.
Mr Trump has pledged to throw the full might of his organisation behind the anti-wind farm group, with his New York-based staff available to work with them on a daily basis.Ms Crosthwaite said: “This is one of the areas that Donald Trump will help us by doing some advertising.”
A spokesman for the First Minister had said: “It is right and proper that the Electoral Commission look into this. We have strict election laws in this country, which everyone must abide by.”
But a spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission said: “The Electoral Commission has considered the complaint but it falls outwith powers to regulate non-party campaigning at local government elections.”
Mr Trump has claimed First Minister Alex Salmond would be remembered as “Mad Alex – the man who destroyed Scotland”, accusing him of single-handedly doing more damage to the country than any event in history.
Mr Harvie hit out after Ms Crosthwaite told Holyrood Magazine that campaigners are in talks with the Trump organisation on the option of a “flying squad” of planning experts to advise wind farm opponents.
He added: “The possibility that a foreign billionaire will seek to use his wealth to influence the local elections is outrageous. This is not America, and our political process is not for sale at any price.”
Mr Trump’s executive vice-president and legal counsel, George Sorial, said: “Patrick Harvie is wrong and is shooting his mouth off at anyone that challenges his narrow agenda.
“We have not funded nor do we intend to fund political campaigns in Scotland.”
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