Just "severe embarrassment" ...
I suggested earlier that all Peter Hain had to fear was severe embarrassment (unless, of course, there is something illegal or compromising hidden in the accounts we are still waiting for him to publish). Let me explain why.
Extraordinarily the Electoral Commission has no powers to penalise individuals or parties for failing to fully declare donations. The Act (PPERA 2000) which established the law on political funding sets out an escalating series of fines for the late submission of accounts but it does not make any provision for late declarations of donations themselves. Indeed, the Commission is lobbying to be given new powers and what it calls a "a more proportionate and flexible sanctions regime" in any new party funding legislation.
So, what Peter Hain must now fear is :
• being dumped by Gordon Brown - although there is no sign of that at all.
• being criticised by the Electoral Commission
• being criticised by the new Standards Watchdog, Sir Christopher Kelly, who today told MPs that his Committee on Standards in Public Life would "see whether or not there are lessons to be learned from the experience. I would guess... that the committee would be concerned that even now not everyone appears to have understood the importance of being absolutely transparent about political donations".
• having every one of the donors he eventually reveals being scrutinised by the media. That, of course, could change everything...