The Liberal Democrat party has had almost £185,000 of spending uncovered from their General Election campaign back in 2015 that they failed to declare. After investigators made this discovery, the Electoral Commission has ruled that the Lib Dem party be fined £20,000, the maximum amount allowed to be fined, which is a paltry amount, even less than they would be charged if they had followed the law and declared it in the first place, pointing out a flaw in Britain’s legal system.

Lib Dems left 307 payments undeclared

The investigation found that the Liberal Democrats had made 307 payments during the campaign that they had not declared, equalling a grand total of a whopping £184,676.

They even would’ve let them off if they had a decent enough excuse for why they didn’t declare it, such as “The dog ate my tax return forms,” but they didn’t.

£20,000 is the largest fine the Electoral Commission is allowed to charge. The Lib Dems must hand the money over by 12 December, five business days after the undeclared payments were found and the case was closed. It’s always five business days with these legal things. If Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s election recount is successful across the pond, President-elect Donald Trump will have five business days to appeal in court.

The Electoral Commission agrees £20,000 isn’t enough

The Electoral Commission is pleading for more abilities to penalise political parties for foul (illegal) play.

The commission believes that a maximum of £20,000 fine just isn’t cutting it and teaching these politicians such as the Lib Dems’ Nick Clegg their lesson.

The commission’s political finance director Bob Posner says that the investigation brought to light “systemic failures” that allowed Clegg and the Lib Dems to slip through the cracks and find a way to bend the rules, while also noted that they “cooperated fully” whilst under investigation.

Lib Dems ‘failed to meet the basic requirements of the law’

Posner refers to the Lib Dem party as “an experienced party that failed to meet the basic requirements of the law.” He says that this kind of conduct serves to “undermine voters’ confidence in our political finance system,” citing this as the reason the highest possible fine was charged, which he still believes is not enough.

Posner says that he and the rest of the Electoral Commission have been begging British governmental powers to “make higher sanctioning powers available to us.” He pointed out that, to a large political party like the Conservative or Labour parties (or Lib Dems for that matter) who receive “millions of pounds” in funding, a £20,000 fine is practically nothing, a mere fly in the ointment.

Metropolitan police are also getting involved

The Electoral Commission has notified Met police of the incident, as according to Posner, they could investigate further and potentially rule this as a criminal offence, if the Lib Dems “knowingly or recklessly signed a false declaration” as opposed to a simple and avoidable mistake being made.

Full cooperation with the investigation makes it look like maybe it was just a mistake, but they could be doing that to appear that way and try to stop the commission from going to the police (good job, guys, how’d that work out for you?).