UK electoral commission asked to investigate News International payoffs
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Labor MP, who has been a driving force in the phone hacking scandal, called for the investigation after he believed that payments and benefits made to Coulson, including private health benefits and a company car, should have been declared as a political donation. Mr Watson has reportedly been trying to uncover whether Coulson declared these payments to the cultures committee upon applying for access to parliament.
MPs are bewildered by Prime Minister David Cameron's hiring of Coulson without anyone looking into his financial history, and many have expressed outrage as the reports contradict evidence given by the formereditor to the culture committee in 2009. He allegedly told the committee that he had received a salary of £275,000 and that he did not have a second income.
Coulson is expected to face further questioning from the committee about the payments after he is cleared from the phone hacking scandal.
, a journalist for the BBC, claimed that Mr Coulson had received several hundred thousand pounds from News International after he began working for the Conservative Party. Despite his ousting in 2007, Mr Coulson received his severance pay in installments from News International until the end of that year.
Coulson was known to have received a payoff after his resignation from News of the World in 2007. The resignation came after the conviction of journalistfor phone hacking.
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has stated that both Coulson andshould have informed the committee about the payments. The investigation will decide whether or not the electoral committee has been misled by Coulson, and whether the payments should be considered as a political donation.
The committee is expected to meet in early September to decide on a plan of action.
- Andrew Sparrow and Polly Curtis. "Call for Inquiry into Murdoch Payments to Coulson" — , 24 August 2011
- "Coulson to be questioned by MPs again-if police don't get him first" — , 24 August 2011
- "British pm's aide got Rupert Murdoch cash after quitting" — , 24 August 2011
- Poly Curtis and James Robinson. "Andy Coulson 'broke' Commons pass rules by failing to declare NI payments" — , 24 August 2011
- Salamander Davoudi, Caroline Binham and Jim Pickard. "Coulson legal payments could be stopped" — , 24 August 2011
- Cassandra Vinograd. "Lawmaker seeks new information over phone hacking" — , 24 August 2011