4 surprising times principled politicians rejected big donations

It’s hard to believe, but sometimes politicians turn down money

It must be hard to say no to a big chunk of cash. That’s possibly the reason why, when researching politicians turning down party donations, it was hard to find examples.

But here are four times big donations have been turned down:

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

US Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders rejected a $2,700 donation from Martin Shkreli, the drug company boss who raised the price of a vital Aids and cancer drug by 5,455%.

A spokesman for Sanders said: “We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed.”

Shkreli said he had made the donation in order to secure a private meeting with the candidate.

Green Party

Caroline Lucas Green Party

The Green Party sent back a £7,000 donation from one of the UK’s richest men. Anthony Tabatznik, who is said to be worth £500m, tried to donate to the Greens last year but the party rejected his donation because he wasn’t domiciled in the UK and didn’t pay full tax.

At the time, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “I’ve always championed tax and financial transparency and I look forward to a time when the rules on political party funding promote such transparency.”

Labour councillor Lesley Brennan

Tony Blair

Lesley Brennan, a Labour councillor for Dundee East, turned down £1,000 from Tony Blair after discussing it with her team.

The former PM gave £1,000 to 106 Labour candidates who were standing for election last May.

However, despite Brennan’s snub, a Scottish Labour spokesman told the media it wasn’t hers to turn down, adding the money would be put to use elsewhere.

Red Cross

Mike Read writer of UKIP Calypso

It’s the opposite way round, but the Red Cross refused money donated to it by UKIP. The political party released a song called “The Ukip Calypso” with former DJ Mike Read,  which climbed to number 21 in the UK singles chart, but was branded racist thanks to Read’s cod-Jamaican accent. Seemingly trying to rectify the bad press, UKIP offered to donate the money raised to the Red Cross – however, the charity turned down the money because the lyrics of the song contained an attack on refugees.

 

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