Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Individual v. Organizational Candidate Endorsements in the UK

The ThirdSector reports that the Charity Commission for England and Wales has written a warning letter to more than a dozen Muslim charities whose members signed an open letter supporting the re-election of London Mayor Ken Livingstone.  The letter cites Mayor Livingstone's support of the city's Muslim communities and states "We pledge to continue our support for the mayor on all levels possible in order to secure his staying in office for a third term."  Almost all of the 63 individual signers' names is followed by the name of an organization, sixteen of which the Commission identified as charities according to the ThirdSector article.  The letter does not state whether the signers are acting on behalf of the listed organizations, although at least one charity responded to the letter by stating that the individuals who signed the letter did so as individuals and not as representatives of the named organizations' views.  According to the article, charities in the UK are not permitted to support political candidates.


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