Break the law and you could have a criminal record. So says Peter Hain on this DWP poster on benefit fraud. No Ifs, No Buts. On the DWP website it's spelt out very clearly...
There are NO IFS, NO BUTS when it comes to benefit fraud. Deliberately withholding information that affects your claim is stealing. That’s why we are targeting benefit thieves! The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) takes benefit theft very seriously. Although the vast majority of people who claim benefits are honest, those who commit benefit theft are picking the pockets of law-abiding taxpayers. In 2006-07 benefit thieves stole an estimated £700 million from public funds, that's why we are determined to stop benefit thieves. All benefit theft is a crime and those found breaking the law face a criminal record. NO IFS, NO BUTS.
Now I suppose it's possible to argue that Hain didn't "deliberately" withhold information, but that is just semantics. He failed in his statutory and legal duties to declare donations. NO IFS, NO BUTS. He must now face the consequences - and if Gordon Brown can't see that, it's yet another reason why he is not fit to be Prime Minister. And there are plenty of others.
UPDATE 11.45: LibDem Voice adds to Mr Hain's woes by accusing him of misusing his Communications Allowance on his parliamentary website.