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Chapter 2 - Candidates' Election Agents

The key issues of which the election agent of a candidate at the election should be aware in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of the legislation are as follows:

2.1     Appointment of an election agent

2.2     Main functions of an election agent

2.3     Spending limits for the election

2.4     Assignment by a candidate of a portion of his/her statutory spending limit to his/her political party (if contesting the election as a party candidate)

2.5     "The Election Period" - dates between which the spending limit applies

2.6     Persons who may be incurring unauthorised expenditure to promote or oppose candidates at the election

2.7     What are election expenses?

2.8     What are not election expenses?

2.9     Payment of invoices to suppliers

2.10   Furnishing an Election Expenses Statement after the election

2.11   Consequences of overspending by an election agent

2.12   Offences and penalties applicable to election agents at the election


2.1      Appointment of an election agent

2.1.1    Each candidate must appoint an election agent [Section 28(2)(a)].  For the purposes of this Act the election agent is the person who is responsible for accounting for expenses incurred on the candidate's behalf during the election campaign.  The election agent must have an office or place in or convenient to the constituency to which claims, notices, writs, summonses and other documents may be sent Section 29(2)].

2.1.2    The candidate must supply the name and office address of the election agent, in writing, to the Returning Officer for the constituency in which the candidate is standing [Section 28(2)(a)].  This must be done not later than the last day for receiving nominations at the election, 12 noon, 11 February 2016.  The Returning Officer will subsequently provide the election agent's details to the Standards Commission [Section 28(6)(b)].

2.1.3    There is no provision on the nomination papers for the candidate to give details of his/her election agent.  The candidate must, therefore, provide such details separately to the Returning Officer.  The Standards Commission has issued a form to Returning Officers which a candidate may use to give details of his/her election agent.  It is very important that the correct details of the person appointed as election agent (i.e., the person who will account for expenditure on the candidate's campaign) are notified to the Returning Officer on this form.  The Standards Commission will only accept an Election Expenses Statement from the person notified to it by the Returning Officer as the candidate's election agent.  The election agent should ensure that the candidate has notified his/her correct details to the Returning Officer.

2.1.4    A candidate may act as his/her own election agent [Section 28(2)(b)].  A candidate who does not notify the Returning Officer of the appointment of an election agent by the last day for receiving nominations is deemed to be acting as his/her own election agent [Section 28(3)(b)].  A candidate acting as his/her own election agent is required to comply with the requirements of the Act both as a candidate and as an election agent [Section 28(2)(b)]. A candidate can revoke the appointment of his/her Election Agent at any time [Section 28(4)(b)].  If this situation arises, it is the candidate only who MUST notify the Returning Officer, in writing, of the revocation of one Election Agent and the appointment of another, along with contact details.  Following notification of a change of Election Agent, the Returning Officer must notify the Standards Commission, in writing, of the revocation of one election agent and the appointment of another, along with the new contact details.  The Standards Commission cannot accept an Election Expenses Statement (EES) if the Election Agent notified to it by the Returning Officer does not match the name of the Election Agent on the EES.

 

2.2      Main functions of an election agent

2.2.1    The election agent is the key link for the Standards Commission in relation to expenditure incurred on the candidate's behalf at the election.  He/she should be comfortable with keeping accounts.

2.2.2    The same person may act as election agent for more than one candidate. In such circumstances the election agent is separately responsible for each candidate. Great care must be taken to ensure that separate records and accounts are kept for each candidate and that it is possible to apportion expenses between the different candidates where this is necessary. Separate Election Expenses Statements and separate receipts/vouchers/invoices (or copies thereof) must be submitted to the Standards Commission in respect of each candidate for whom the election agent acts.

2.2.3    The main function of the election agent is to authorise and control spending connected to the candidate's election campaign and to account for such spending.

2.2.4    Subject to what is stated at paragraphs 2.2.5 and 2.2.6 below, the election agent is the only person who may incur expenditure or make payments on behalf of the candidate [Section 31(4)(b)].  All invoices, receipts or vouchers must be provided to the election agent and retained by him/her for the purposes of completing his/her Election Expenses Statement.

2.2.5    A candidate cannot incur any expenses or make any payments in relation to the election campaign without being authorised to do so by the election agent.  It is an offence for a candidate to incur expenses or make payments, other than in respect of "his/her reasonable living expenses", unless authorised to do so by the election agent.  Where expenses have been incurred by or on behalf of a candidate before the appointment of an election agent, the candidate must furnish details of such expenses, together with all invoices/receipts, to the election agent once he/she has been appointed [Section 31(8)]. It is an offence for a candidate to fail to comply with this requirement [Section 31(8A)].

2.2.6    The election agent may authorise other persons to incur expenditure or make payments within specified financial limits [Section 31(5)].  The election agent must account for spending by all such authorised persons.  Expenses incurred or payments made by authorised persons must be within the limit specified by the election agent.  An election agent may authorise the candidate or the national agent of the candidate's political party (if applicable) to incur election expenses.  The name and address of every authorised person must be included in the Election Expenses Statement which the election agent must furnish to the Standards Commission after the election.

2.2.7    Promotion of a running mate(s) in a candidate's election material, by, for example, the inclusion in the material of an endorsement which solicits votes for the running mate(s), constitutes election expenditure incurred by the candidate's election agent on behalf of the running mate(s). This is known as cross-canvassing or strip promotion - see Appendix 4. (This also applies in the event of cross-party support for candidates contesting the election, e.g., two separate political parties having a voting pact.)

2.2.8    Ordinarily, a proportion of the cost SHOULD be met from within the running mate's expenditure limit. (This would be calculated on the basis of the extent to which the running mate is featured on the candidate’s election material.) However, see 2.2.10 below.

2.2.9    Where cross-canvassing or strip promotion is likely to take place, agreements and authorisations should be put in place between the relevant election agents to agree the likely costs.

2.2.10  In most cases the value of the cross-canvassing is exactly the same in respect of each of the candidates, i.e. the same amount of space on, for instance, a poster, is given over to Candidate A by running mate Candidate B, as Candidate B is giving over to Candidate A. In such circumstances it will not be necessary for each election agent to account separately for the various portions of the canvassing material. Instead, each election agent should account for the full cost of the material (e.g. poster) and each election agent must make a note on the Election Expenses Statement form that there was cross-canvassing but, because the portions are exactly equal, he/she is accounting for the full cost in respect of his/her candidate only.

2.2.11  In the event that the proportions of cross-canvassing are not equal, or the number of copies of the item, i.e. poster, being accounted for differ, then each election agent must account for the portion of the cost of their own candidates material (e.g. poster) plus the portion of the cost associated with the material used by the running mate.

 

2.3      Spending limits for the election

2.3.1    The statutory spending limits for the election are as follows [Section 32(1)(a) & Section 3(1)].

5 seat constituency -  €45,200

4 seat constituency -  €37,650

3 seat constituency -  €30,150

This spending limit is inclusive of VAT.  All spending by the election agent and a political party (both head office and local organisation) on a candidate must be within this limit.

2.3.2    The statutory limit is for each individual candidate in a constituency.

2.3.3    It should be understood that no separate or additional spending by a political party on a candidate over and above that which has been assigned to the party by the candidate is allowed (see paragraph 2.4.1 below) [Section 32(2)].  If a candidate of a political party does not assign any part of the statutory spending limit to the party, the party cannot incur any expenses on behalf of the candidate at the election, unless authorised to do so by the candidate's election agent.

Non-party candidates may proceed to Paragraph 2.5

 

2.4      Assignment by a candidate of a portion of his/her statutory spending limit to his/her political party

2.4.1    If a candidate is contesting the election on behalf of a political party, he/she may agree, in writing, with his/her political party, the amount of his/her spending limit which is being assigned to the party for spending by the party's national agent [Section 32(1)(b)].  This could be up to 100% of the candidate's limit. There is, however, no legal obligation on a candidate to assign any amount to the party. The candidate's election agent can only spend, or authorise to be spent, the amount of the statutory limit for that candidate [Section 32(1)(a)] which remains after the assignment has been made.  In other words, whatever amount is assigned to the party by a candidate is not available for spending by the candidate's election agent.

  Example:

 3 seat constituency4 seat constituency

5 seat

constituency

Statutory spending limit€30,150€37,650€45,200
Amount assigned by candidate€10,000€10,000€10,000
Amount election agent can spend€20,150€27,650€35,200

2.4.2    The Act does not specify when the written assignment must be made.  Similarly, the Act does not preclude a re-negotiation of the agreed assignment.  The Standards Commission strongly advises that, if an assignment to a political party is being made, it should be made and notified to the election agent before any expenses are incurred by either the election agent or the national agent of the candidate's political party.

2.4.3    The Act requires that the agreed assignment must be made in writing between the candidate and the party.  Where assignments are re-negotiated a new written agreement must be made between the candidate and the party.  A copy of the written agreement should be provided to the candidate's election agent as he/she will be required to furnish a copy of the written agreement to the Standards Commission with his/her Election Expenses Statement.

2.4.4    The combined expenditure on behalf of the candidate by the candidate's election agent (including authorised persons) and the national agent of the party (including authorised persons) must remain within the statutory spending limit for the candidate.

 

2.5      "The Election Period" - dates between which the spending limit applies

2.5.1    The spending limits at the election apply to all expenses incurred and payments made in providing property, goods or services which are used for electoral purposes during the period commencing on the date of the dissolution of the Dáil and ending on polling day itself, both dates included [Section 31(3)(a)].  The election period for the general election for the thirty-second Dáil is from 3 February 2016 to 26 February 2016.

2.5.2    Regardless of when the expenses are incurred or the payments are made, they must be taken into account if they relate to property, goods or services which are used for electoral purposes during the election period.  Accordingly, expenses which are incurred or payments which are made at any time before the date of the issue of the writ on property, goods or services which are used during the election period must be accounted for [Section 31(3)(b)].

2.5.3    If expenses are incurred or payments are made on property, goods or services which were not used, or only a part was used, during the election period it will not be necessary to account for the unused part.  Similarly, it will not be necessary to account for expenses incurred or payments made in respect of property, goods or services which were used before the commencement of the election period or which were used after the election period.  Some examples of this might be:

·         promotional material circulated by candidates/political parties before the election period commenced;

·         insurance or rent costs applying to a campaign premises in so far as the costs relate to a period before and/or after the election period;

·         "Thank you" notices circulated after the election.

·         Taking down of posters

2.5.4    If an advertisement is published in a newspaper or other periodical publication which carries a publication date (i.e., the date printed on the paper) which is during the election period, the advertisement will be regarded as an election expense.  If the publication date is before or after the election period, the advertisement is not regarded as an election expense.

2.5.5    The cost of an opinion poll or other similar survey which is taken within the period of 60 days before polling day will be regarded as an election expense [Schedule paragraph 1(g)].

 

2.6      Persons who may be incurring unauthorised expenditure to promote or oppose candidates at the election

(a) Expenditure by "third parties"/"other persons"

2.6.1    Expenditure by "third parties" and"other persons", i.e., those not connected to a candidate or a political party, is permitted under the Act provided the third party/other person has notified the Standards Commission of their intent to incur election expenses.  If an election agent becomes aware that any person or group is incurring expenses promoting or opposing his/her candidate, or any other candidate, the agent should enquire of the Standards Commission if that person or group has been given a Certificate of Authorisation by the Standards Commission [Section 31(7)] to incur election expenses in this way.  If a Certificate has not been issued, the person or group may be committing an offence and the Standards Commission will enquire into the matter.

2.6.2    Notices or advertisements in newspapers, magazines or other periodical publications promoting or opposing the interests of a candidate may only be placed if requested by the candidate, the candidate's election agent, the national agent of the candidate's political party or a person authorised in writing by the candidate or either agent.  "Third parties" and "other persons" may arrange newspaper advertising if they produce to the publisher a Certificate of Authorisation from the Standards Commission stating that they have furnished, in writing, the relevant information to the Standards Commission [Section 31(10)]. The Standards Commission will notify editors/publishers of the provisions of the Act in this regard.

2.6.3    "Third parties"/"Other Persons" who incur election expenses will also have to account for their election expenses in an Election Expenses Statement [Section 36(1)(a)].

(b) Expenditure by a local party organisation

2.6.4    No separate or additional spending by a political party over and above the statutory spending limit is allowed.  Any expenditure incurred on behalf of the candidate by the local party organisation should either be:

·         authorised by the national agent and taken into account in the national agent's Election Expenses Statement; or

·         authorised by the election agent and taken into account in the election agent's Election Expenses Statement.

(c)  Expenditure by persons/bodies deemed to be connected to a candidate

2.6.5    Election agents should be aware that if a person or a body, who or which is considered by the Standards Commission to be associated with, connected to, or under the influence or control of a candidate, is incurring expenses at the election to either promote the candidate or to oppose another candidate, such expenses will be regarded as part of the first candidate's election expenses and will have to be taken into account by that candidate's election agent from within the candidate's spending limit (i.e., that part of the limit which has been retained by the candidate) [Section 31(6)].  If this expenditure brings spending by the candidate's election agent over the relevant limit, an offence will have been committed.

2.6.6    Given that expenditure by certain individuals/groups may ultimately be deemed to be expenditure incurred on behalf of their candidates, it is important that election agents are aware of the activities of such individual/groups and, if necessary bring such matters to the attention of the Standards Commission.

 

2.7      What are election expenses?

2.7.1    The legislation provides that election expenses are those and only those, set out in the definition of election expenses in Appendix 1, which are incurred in the provision of property, goods or services for use at the election during the election period [Section 31(1)(a) & Schedule to the Act] (3 February 2016 to 26 February 2016) in order to:

(i)         promote or oppose the interests of a political party or the election of a candidate; or

(ii)        present the policies of a political party or the comments of a political party on the policies of another political party or of a candidate at the election; or

(iii)       solicit votes for or against a candidate; or

(iv)       present the policies of a candidate or the views of a candidate on any matter connected with the election or the comments of a candidate on the policies of a political party or of another candidate at the election; or

(v)        otherwise to influence the outcome of the election.

2.7.2    Where property, goods or services, which have been provided free or below cost, are used during the election period, they are regarded as election expenses which must be taken into account as election spending by the relevant agent at their commercial price [Section 31(2)].  [An example might be where a printing company agrees to provide, free of charge, election literature which would normally cost €1,500.]  This supply of material must be authorised and taken into account at its commercial price less any normal discount which may be available.

2.7.3    Election expenses could include payments to paid campaign workers where receipted.

2.7.4    It is not possible to give definitive examples in these guidelines of all types of election expenses.  If you are unsure as to whether an expense item should be accounted for as an election expense you should contact the Standards Commission Secretariat for advice.

 Election Expenses which are met out of public funds

2.7.5    Where property, services or facilities are used for electoral purposes during the election period and the costs are met out of public funds, such costs must be accounted for as an election expense [Schedule 2(c) deleted – Kelly v Minister for the Environment & Ors [2002] 4 I.R. 191].  The use of the material must be authorised by the candidate's election agent.  It will be a matter for the relevant agent and the candidate, in consultation with the provider of the property, services or facilities, to determine the value of the usage for electoral purposes during the election period and to account for same in the Election Expenses Statement. [Examples of this type of expenditure are use of Oireachtas facilities, e.g. prepaid Oireachtas envelopes, telephones, etc.]

2.7.6    The Standards Commission is aware that some candidates at the election who are already public representatives may be required to communicate with their constituents during the election period.  It is necessary, therefore, where costs are met from public funds to differentiate between the use of property, services (including staff) and/or facilities in carrying out reasonable constituency business and the use of such material for electoral purposes.  The following is relevant in this regard.

·         If, during the election period, such materials are used by the candidate for the purpose of any form of unsolicited communication to any of the electorate in the constituency, the materials will be regarded as having been used for electoral purposes and the costs will have to be accounted for as an election expense at their full commercial value.  This also applies to unsolicited material issued by other elected representatives where the material either promotes or opposes a candidate or otherwise seeks to influence the outcome of the election.

·         Where a new enquiry is raised with a candidate (i.e., an enquiry which had not been raised with the candidate prior to the election) while he/she is canvassing and facilities the cost of which are met out of public funds are used for the purposes of responding to the enquiry, these facilities will be regarded as having been used for electoral purposes.  This includes time spent by staff in responding to the enquiry (except where such staff are working voluntarily on the candidate's campaign - see 2.8.1 (vi) & (vii) below).

 

2.8    What are not election expenses?

2.8.1        Items which are not election expenses include:

(i)            the cost of purchasing copies of the register of electors [Schedule paragraph 2(e)];

(ii)          the payment of the deposit in respect of the candidate or the travelling or other expenses incurred by a candidate in obtaining assentors to secure the nomination of the candidate [Schedule paragraph 2(d) & (dd)];

(iii)        the reasonable living expenses (including accommodation) of a candidate and volunteers working on his/her behalf [Schedule paragraph 2(f)].  Under this heading, in addition to accommodation costs, spending of up to €50per person per day on refreshments, etc., is permitted and does not have to be accounted for. (This means that accommodation costs plus other costs up to €50 per person per day are not regarded as election expenses.);

(iv)        any paid campaign worker who incurs minor expenses, not exceeding €126.97, from their own resources and does not seek a reimbursement from the election agent [Schedule paragraph 2(g)].

[NOTE:  The only persons who may lawfully incur expenses or make payments at an election in relation to a candidate are the election agent of a candidate, the national agent of a political party, or a person authorised by either agent to incur election expenses.  Accordingly, any other person who incurs expenses or makes payments at an election on behalf of a candidate is committing an offence.  Election agents must maintain a record of all minor expenses which are not being accounted for as an election expense in his/her Election Expenses Statement.  In order to deal with any questions which may arise as to why expenses in respect of particular items used during the election period are not shown as an election expense in the Election Expenses Statement, a record of all such "minor expenses"(not exceeding €126.97 in any one payment)  may be required to be furnished to the Standards Commission.  Invoices, receipts and vouchers in respect of minor expenses may also be required and should be retained by the Election Agent.   Minor expenses are not included in the calculation of the total election expenses incurred.]

(v)     election expenses incurred at a previous Presidential, Dáil, European or local election which were disclosed in an Election Expenses Statement furnished to the Standards Commission or to a local authority [Schedule paragraph 2(b)]. There is no need to record these expenses again.  This does not apply to material used in relation to a referendum. [NOTE: If a candidate intends to use, or re-use, election material which has previously been recorded in an Election Expenses Statement, his/her election agent must notify the Standards Commission Secretariat and provide details of the materials being re-used and the Election Expenses Statement on which they were previously recorded.]

(vi)    free post service provided to candidates by An Post (i.e., Litir Um Thoghcáin) [Schedule paragraph 2(a);Section 22(2)(b)(i)].  It should be noted that only the postage costs are not regarded as an election expense.  The cost of producing the leaflet/election address/Litir um Thoghcháin is an election expense;

(vii)   a free serviceprovided by an individual, including use of the individual's motor vehicle, telephone, etc., where the service is not provided as part of the individual's work or business [Schedule paragraph 2(a);Section 22(2)(b)(iii)(I)]. [NOTE: This provision of the Act refers specifically to an individual and to the use of an individual's motor vehicle (singular).  If more than one vehicle is provided by an individual, the use of the additional vehicles may be regarded as election expenses.  If a vehicle which is in the ownership of a company, partnership, business etc., is provided to a candidate it is not regarded as a free service provided by an individual.  In such circumstances the use of the vehicle during the election period is regarded as an election expense. The commercial cost of hiring a similar vehicle for a similar period must be ascertained for the purposes of calculating the election expense.];

(viii)  where an outgoing MEP’s staff or Oireachtas Member’s staff (e.g. personal assistant, research assistant, etc.) takes annual leave and works on a candidate’s election campaign on a voluntary basis during the election period, the work carried out by the member of staff will be deemed to have been carried out as a free service and the cost of his/her salary while working voluntarily will not be regarded as election expenses for the purpose of the Act;

(ix)    fines imposed by organs of the State, e.g., parking and litter fines;

(x)     a service provided at an election by an employee of a political party, including use of the individual's motor vehicle, where the employee's remuneration is paid out of party resources or out of public funds and where the employee is not in receipt of any reward or benefit-in-kind other than his or her normal remuneration (including recoupment of expenses) for that service [Schedule paragraph 2(a);Section 22(2)(b)(iii)(II)].  Where overtime payments are normally paid to an employee of a political party for working additional hours, this is regarded as "normal remuneration" and is not regarded as an election expense;

(xi)    normal media coverage and the transmission on radio or television of a broadcast on behalf of a candidate or a political party [Schedule paragraph 2(a);Section 22(2)(b)(iv) & (v)].  This does not cover any production, or other, costs associated with a transmission on radio or television;

(xii)   the services of an accountant, or other person, (whether paid or not) employed for the specific purpose of ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Act;

(xiii)  the use of offices which are owned by a political party and are made available to a candidate for use at the election.  It is not necessary to attribute a notional rental cost to the use of such offices.  The costs of heat, light, telephones, etc., incurred for electoral purposes at such offices during the election period are election expenses. 

2.8.2    Examples of some of the more common items which are not election expenses and which were recorded as election expenses at previous elections are set out in Appendix 3.

2.8.3    Certain expenses may have to be incurred on behalf of the candidate in order to facilitate his/her participation in the election process or an understanding of the relevant legislation.  The Standards Commission does not regard such expenses as being part of a candidate's or a political party's election spending.  Examples might include:

i)          additional child care costs;

ii)         cost of work replacements;

iii)        leave of absence with pay;

iv)        loan interest and bank charges;

v)         costs associated with meetings convened to familiarise election participants with the requirements of the electoral legislation (e.g., room hire, documents, refreshments, travel).

 

2.9      Payment of invoices to suppliers

2.9.1    Claims for payment of election expenses, from suppliers, must be received by the election agent within 45 days after polling day (i.e., 11 April 2016).  Claims received after this date cannot be paid by the election agent[Section 34].  It is an offence to make a payment if the claim is received after the 45 days have elapsed.  To avoid disputes, it is very important that agents advise their suppliers of this requirement when placing orders for property, goods or services.  Even though such claims cannot be paid, they are still regarded as election expenses and must be accounted for in the Election Expenses Statement furnished to the Standards Commission.

 

2.10   Furnishing an Election Expenses Statement after the election

2.10.1  The Standards Commission will send each election agent an Election Expenses Statement and Statutory Declaration form [Section 36(1) & (2)].  Staff of the Standards Commission Secretariat may be contacted at sipo@sipo.ie if assistance is required. The Standards Commission Secretariat will also be available to meet election agents to assist in the completion of the form.  The completed form must be received by the Standards Commission within 56 days after polling day (i.e. 22 April 2016). 

2.10.2  The following must be included in the Election Expenses Statement:

i)          details of all expenses incurred and payments made by the election agent and his/her authorised persons, including supplies of property, goods or services free or below cost which were used during the election period [Section 36(1)(a)];

ii)         details of authorised persons (which may include the candidate; a director of elections or the party's national agent) including the amount each authorised person was authorised to spend and the amounts actually spent by them;

iii)        details of the amount of the candidate's spending limit which was assigned by the candidate to his/her political party [Section 36(1)(c)].  As stated at paragraph 2.4.3 a copy of the written agreement between the candidate and the political party must be furnished by the election agent with his/her Election Expenses Statement;

iv)        details of any disputed claims for payment [Section 36(1)(d)];

v)         information concerning late claims for payment (i.e., claims received more than 45 days after polling day) [Section 36(1)(d)];

vi)        details of expenses incurred on goods, property or services used during the election period where the costs of the goods, property or services were met out of public funds.

2.10.3  A record of minor expenses may also be required to be furnished to the Standards Commission in order to deal with any questions which may arise as to why expenses in respect of particular items used during the election period are not shown as an election expense on the Election Expenses Statement.  Minor expenses will not be included in the calculation of the total election expenses incurred (see paragraph 2.8.1(iii) for a definition of "minor expenses").

2.10.4  Invoices, receipts or vouchers for every payment of election expenses exceeding €126.97 must be included with the Election Expenses Statement [Section 31(9)].  The Standards Commission also reserves the right to request any invoice, receipt or voucher for an item of expenditure valued at less than €126.97 appearing in an Election Expenses Statement or a record of minor expenses.

2.10.5  Minor omissions or errors found by the Standards Commission in an Election Expenses Statement will be notified to the election agent.  If requested to amend his/her Election Expenses Statement, the election agent must do so within 14 days [Section 4(2)].

2.10.6  The Standards Commission can request additional information from an election agent in relation to his/her Election Expenses Statement.  Where such additional information is requested, it must be provided in a form determined by the Standards Commission and may have to be accompanied by a Statutory Declaration [Section 36(2A)].

2.10.7  The Election Expenses Statement and Statutory Declaration forms will be laid by the Standards Commission before both Houses of the Oireachtas [Section 37(1)] and will be made available to the public for inspection and copying [Section 73].  Summary details of the expenditure incurred will also be included in a report to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann [Section 4(1)] and laid before each House of the Oireachtas [Section 4(5)]. The Statements and report will be published on the website of the Standards Commission.

 

2.11   Consequences of overspending by an election agent

2.11.1  There are a number of consequences arising from an overspend by an election agent at the election, as follows:

(i)       it is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine of up to €2,500[Section 43(2)(a) and Section 43(5)(a) & Section 6 of Fines Act 2010];

 (ii)      the election may be questioned by a petition to the High Court to set aside the result of the election if it can be shown that the overspend materially affected the result of the election [Section 44];

(iii)       an election agent's overspend is deducted from the candidate's reimbursement [Section 40(b)].

 

2.12   Offences and penalties applicable to election agents at the election

2.12.1  If a person who is not authorised to do so, incurs expenditure or makes a payment in relation to the election, he/she, on conviction, may be fined up to €2,500 [Section 43(1)(b) & 43(5)(a)& Section 6 of Fines Act 2010].

2.12.2  If an election agent is found guilty of the offence of exceeding the expenditure limit, the penalty is a fine of up to €2,500 [Section 43(2)(a) & 43(5)(a)& Section 6 of Fines Act 2010].

2.12.3  Payment of claims received more than 45 days after polling day (i.e., after 11 April 2016) can result in a fine of up to €2,500 [Section 43(2)(b) & 43(5)(a)& Section 6 of Fines Act 2010].

2.12.4  Failure to make such enquiries and maintain such records as are necessary for the purpose of furnishing an Election Expenses Statement and making a Statutory Declaration may result in a fine of up to €2,500 [Section 36(4) & 43(2)(e) & 43(5)(a)& Section 6 of Fines Act 2010].

2.12.5  Failure to furnish an Election Expenses Statement and Statutory Declaration to the Standards Commission by the statutory deadline (i.e., 22 April 2016) can result in a fine of up to €2,500 and an on-going fine of up to €500 for each day, after a conviction, on which the Statement and Declaration are still outstanding [Section 43(2)(c) & 43(5)(a) & (c)& Sections 6 and 8 of Fines Act 2010].

2.12.6  Failure to provide supplemental information relating to an Election Expenses Statement as requested by the Standards Commission on request can result in a fine of up to €2,500 [Section 36(2A) & 43(2)(e) & 43(5)(a)& Section 6 of Fines Act 2010].

2.12.7  Knowingly furnishing a false or misleading Election Expenses Statement to the Standards Commission can result in a fine of up to €25,394.76 and/or up to three years imprisonment [Section 43(2)(d) & 43(5)(b)].

2.12.8  Failure to furnish to the Standards Commission, within 7 days after the date of the order, a copy of a court order for the payment of a disputed claim may result in a fine of up to €2,500 [Section 36(3) & 43(2)(e) & 43(5)(a)& Section 6 of Fines Act 2010].