Glenn Copus / EPA, File
Video aired over the weekend shows Conservative Party fundraiser Peter Cruddas, pictured above in 2005, telling undercover reporters: "200 grand ($317,000), 250 is premier league ... it'll be awesome for your business."
LONDON -- The government of British Prime Minister David Cameron was reeling on Monday after a video emerged showing his Conservative Party's top fundraiser claiming to offer access to senior politicians in exchange for large donations.
In a sting operation, The Sunday Times (the newspaper operates behind a paywall) secretly videotaped fundraiser Peter Cruddas discussing donations. The film showed him telling undercover reporters: "200 grand ($317,000), 250 is premier league ... it'll be awesome for your business."
If donors met Cameron, Cruddas claimed in the recording, "within that room, everything is confidential and you will be able to ask him practically any question that you want."
'We will listen to you'
He suggested they could even influence party policy, saying: "If you are unhappy about something, we will listen to you and we will put it into the policy committee at (the prime minister's official residence)."
In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain expressed the need to continue placing 'massive pressure' on Iran without resorting to military action.
Cameron responded by saying Cruddas' actions had been "completely unacceptable." Cruddas, a millionaire, resigned within hours of the report.
Cruddas made the remarks to two journalists he thought were international financiers and who were accompanied by a lobbyist.
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and President Barack Obama have a personal bond that helps define their working relationship. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.
"Because we depend on donors so much we have to be careful" to show "you cannot buy access," he said according to The Sunday Times. But, he told the undercover reporters, if you donate "you could well be at a private house having a private dinner with George Osborne, David Cameron, William Hague, the chairman around the table."
Osborne, the cabinet minister in charge of economic and financial matters, and Foreign Minister William Hague are both members of Cameron's center-right Conservative Party, which leads the governing coalition alongside the Liberal Democrats.
The funding issue is embarrassing for Cameron, who promised before coming to power in May 2010 to curb corporate lobbying, saying it was the "next big scandal waiting to happen."
Following the report, Cameron admitted he had used his official home at 10 Downing Street to host dinners for Conservative donors.
Before David Cameron embarked on his trip to the United States, Brian Williams sat down with Britain's youngest prime minister in two centuries. Cameron talked about his relationship with President Obama, the war in Afghanistan and even Meryl Streep's portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady. Rock Center Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams reports.
The scandal threatened to undo Cameron's efforts to shake off his party's image of being too close to the interests of business and the rich as Britain undergoes an austerity program to cut its budget deficit.
"This is not the way that we raise money in the Conservative party, it should not have happened," said Cameron. "I will make sure that there is a proper party inquiry to make sure this can't happen again."
While there were also tax cuts for lower earners, the government's recent budget went down badly with many Britons, giving the impression the government was looking after the wealthy and cared little for those suffering rising unemployment and falling incomes as the economy struggles to recover from recession.
Despite mounting pressure after the recent civilian killings in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain reaffirmed their plans to slowly dial back their military presence. NBC's Kristen Welker reports.
Previous attempts to reform the political funding system have foundered on the Conservatives' reluctance to cap donations from wealthy individuals and the opposition Labour Party's desire to avoid limits on contributions from unions.
Msnbc.com's F. Brinley Bruton and Reuters contributed to this report.
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