Greens refer Trump’s anti-wind power campaign to Electoral Commission

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Environmental campaigners have expressed “serious concerns” that US property tycoon Donald Trump is set to fund a campaign in the 3 May 2012 Scottish council elections.

In an interview in Holyrood magazine, the chair of protest group Communities Against Turbines Scotland descibes plans to use substantial funding from the American billionaire to create a “massive campaign” during the local elections against council candidates who support wind power developments.

Trump Organisation executive vice-president George Sorial told the Sunday Times in February that Mr Trump was prepared to spend up to £10m on his campaign against wind power.  The campaign was launched after plans were put forward to construct 11 wind turbines offshore from the controversial £750m golf resort being built by the Trump Organisation at Menie in Aberdeenshire.  Mr Trump has shut down construction at the site in protest at the development.

Anti-wind power activists say they plan to make life uncomfortable for politicians, planners and wind power developers, in a national campaign that could see what Holyrood magazine dubbed “an unprecedented single-issue intervention in Scotland’s local elections.”

Even a fraction of the £10m pledged by Mr Trump would dwarf official party spending on 3 May local elections in Scotland.  The Scottish Green party has referred the matter to the Electoral Commission for investigation.

The Green party believes that the intervention from Mr Trump will backfire and alienate many people, but they have also expressed anger at what they see as a blatant overseas attempt to manipulate the Scottish election for a sectional interest, a large part of which is outside the country.

Leader of the Greens Patrick Harvie MSP commented:

“It’s bad enough that Mr Trump has thrown a hissy fit about the chance that he might be able to see turbines from his golf resort, and has threatened to abuse the planning and legal systems to undermine Scotland’s energy industry.  But the possibility that a foreign billionaire will seek to use his wealth to influence the local elections is outrageous.  This is not America, and our political process is not for sale at any price.”