Sinodinos to stay attached to scandal

Senator Arthur Sinodinos’ name will remain in an NSW Electoral Commission statement relating to a Liberal Party donations scandal, with the head of the commission also expecting the identities of secret benefactors to be revealed soon.

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The NSW Electoral Commission is refusing to pay the Liberals more than $4.4 million until it reveals the secret donors who poured about $700,000 into the party’s coffers ahead of the 2011 state election.

Cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos was the party’s treasurer and finance director at the time and wanted references to himself in the commission’s statement removed, but its chair Keith Mason says it is “not prepared to retract its decision or any part of its statement”.

Mr Mason also expects the party to comply with the states electoral funding laws, following a public statement to that effect from NSW Liberal director Chris Stone.

“The commission expects the reportable political donations not yet disclosed in the party’s 2011 declaration will be disclosed promptly, which will allow a new decision about funding claims to be made,” Mr Mason said.

“This means the NSW Liberal Party needs to disclose all reportable political donations, including the names and other required information about donors under NSW election laws.”

Following the publication of the commission’s statement, Senator Sinodinos’ lawyers have sought a retraction of parts of its summary of facts, which the senator says used “loose language which could convey erroneous impressions”.

His lawyers said the commission’s conclusion that Senator Sinodinos knew, condoned or supported the disguising of donations was “manifestly wrong” and was formed without affording “procedural fairness” or “basic decency”.

In a response letter published on Thursday night, Mr Mason said the senator’s assertions about the language were wrong and “not in fact used in any of the documents published”.

The three-member electoral commission is due to meet again next Wednesday.