Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Harper violated political contribution rules

CP’s Joan Bryden moves a story on the wire this boxing day revealing that, just before Christmas, the Harper Conservatives quietly admitted it failed to declare hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donations.

I’ll leave you to read the story for all the details on just how badly the Conservatives screwed-up. It has to do with their handling of delegate fees for their last convention. The Cons say they don’t count as donations, the law says the opposite. Either they were unaware of the rules, misunderstood them or just didn’t care, I don’t know. They still arrogantly insist they were right though, even though the law clearly says otherwise. Don’t they have any lawyers in that party? Isn’t Steve an economist?


Speaking of Steve, here’s an interesting graph from the story:


… the report indicates the Conservative party then discovered three delegates - including Prime Minister Stephen Harper - had exceeded their $5,400 annual limit for political contributions. As a result, the party refunded $456 each to Harper and the other two delegates.


Will there be any consequences for this violation of the rules by Mr. Harper and the Conservative Party? Apparently Elections Canada is expected to come down with a ruling in the New Year. This thing would seem to be far from over.


There’s also more:


... the registration form for the (Conservative)convention invited outside observers - generally lobbyists and representatives of professional groups - to use their corporate credit cards to pay the $750 observer fee.


If true, that would appear to be a violation of the prohibition on corporate donations to political parties, a very big no-no, to say the least. Far from over indeed. I’ll leave the last word to Mark Holland:


Opposition parties say the Conservatives are guilty of either gross ignorance or deliberately flouting the law.


"The reality is it sounds like they broke a lot of laws and they're going to have to be answering for that, no doubt about it," said Liberal MP Mark Holland, who added that the Tories are probably hoping nobody notices their admission over the holidays.

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13 comments:

wilson61 said...

from the article:
'In the revised report, the Conservatives have "reclassified revenue related to the 2005 convention," disclosing an additional $539,915 in previously unreported donations, an extra $913,710 in "other revenue," and an additional $1.45 million in "other expenses."

$1.45 million was recorded as Income, and $1.45m was recorded as an Expense (zero).
So in 'reclassified' of revenue this way, tax payers will be FORCED into paying for the Cons convention.

Canadians are going to thump Cons for trying to get Party Conventions off the taxpayers back in the Accountability Act, and were opposed by all other parties?

And you think PMSHs over-contribution was an accident?

Steve V said...

Isn't it somewhat suspicious that all the new revenue disclosed happens to add up to the new "other expense" total?

wilson61 said...

No, Cons only charged enough to cover expenses.
In reclassifying of the fees as donor revenue and declaring the corresponding expenses, a tax receipt must be issued to donors.
But the same result of zero net revenue.

??? Did the Liberals file revised reports for the years where Gomery found:
''• a complex web of financial transactions among Public Works andGovernment Services Canada (PWGSC), Crown Corporations andcommunication agencies, involving kickbacks and illegal contributions to a political party in the context of the SponsorshipProgram;''

Steve V said...

"??? Did the Liberals file revised reports for the years where Gomery found:
''• a complex web of financial transactions among Public Works andGovernment Services Canada (PWGSC), Crown Corporations andcommunication agencies, involving kickbacks and illegal contributions to a political party in the context of the SponsorshipProgram;''

Sorry, are we talking about the Liberals or the story on the unethical behaviour of the holier than thou party? Let's stay on topic shall we. I know it hurts, but...

wilson61 said...

''Deliberate actions to avoid compliance with federal legislation and policies, such as the Canada Elections Act, the Lobbyists Registration Act and the Access to Information Act.'' Gomery on Liberal Party Q.

Ok, so Steve, why do you think the CPC/PMSH changed their accounting practices and over-contributed? Mistake? Deliberate to pick the Adscam scab in Quebec?

Steve V said...

"Ok, so Steve, why do you think the CPC/PMSH changed their accounting practices and over-contributed?"

Stupidity or dishonest, take your pick, neither are flattering.

knb said...

wilson..you can try to soft peddle, dance around and over justify as much as you like. It will not work.

It's about time this came to light and burying it in the "off" season, clearly hasn't worked. Holland has a hold of it...nuff said.

Griff said...

"Sorry, are we talking about the Liberals or the story on the unethical behaviour of the holier than thou party? Let's stay on topic shall we. I know it hurts, but..."

I thought both were one and the same. This story is a nothing. The conservative party doesn't believe that taxpayers should be paying for their conventions. I know that for you big government liberals, that's a hard thing to understand, but give it time and it will come to you. Classifying convention fees as political donations s ridiculous; as wilson already pointed out, the fees simply cover the cost of the convention, nothing more - the taxpayer shouldn't be billed for it. It is interesting to note that when the conservative party attempted to change the law so that taxpayers wouldn't foot the bills for party conventions (the parties would instead) all three opposition parties shot it down. So the real question is, why do the three opposition parties want canadians to pay for their convention fees?

If the conservatives are guilty of anything, it's having good intentions towards the canadian taxpayer.

And to add to this, the conservative party admitted that it unfortunately ended up breaking a law that hurts canadians, and refiled the correct claims, refunding excess monies "contributed".
The Canadian Public is still waiting on the same repayment from the liberal party of Canada.

Rhetoric said...

Come on, Jeff. Aside from the three delegates who now are considered to have over-donated (and will be getting that money back) what could the CPC have gained from not counting convention fees as donation Of all the activities that political parties conduct, I think that most voters will agree that conventions are the one least deserving of a government subsidy.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, this will end the constant snarling, barking snake oil salesman display by Baird in Question Period, but not likely.

They are trying to play 'stupid' on this - that they thought is was legal - ya right. If the Tories believe this, then we can truly believe Harper is not as intelligent and they think. If he is as intelligent, then he is corrupt and a hypocrite. Add the 40 plus patronage appointments over the Xmas season (hoping no one would notice) and you have truly "unaccountable" government on your hands.

Will media give this the attention is deserves? I wonder.

Will people start paying attention now? I wonder.

Anonymous said...

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with what the Liberals, NDP, BLOC or Green Party do - it's a matter of "right and wrong". This johnnie hit me first is a weak argument for saying it's OK for the holier than thou new government has done.

Either they did a wrong or they didn't and obviously they DID.

They do know right from wrong don't they? I'm sure they do because they use every opportunity to trash and bash everyone else.

Question is right or wrong NOT who did what way back when. They set themselves up as the clean, accountable, transparent government and they have to live by the rules too.

A BCer in Toronto said...

The conservative party doesn't believe that taxpayers should be paying for their conventions. I know that for you big government liberals, that's a hard thing to understand, but give it time and it will come to you.

Well, here's something that a law and order conservative should be able to understand. What the Cons did was AGAINST THE LAW! It doesn't matter if you think it shouldn't be the law. It's still THE LAW! You don't get to pick and choose which laws you follow, and which you don't.

I've seen a number of attempted defences here and elsewhere from Con supporters. Either they were willfully ignorant of the law, or they just ignored it because they didn't like it. Neither are particularly good.

burlivespipe said...

Where's the check kiting part to this? Perhaps its just in a different wording, but that the Cons were caught encouraging check kiting really also smelled like, well, like Flaherty's final kick at the Ontario treasury. Here's hoping mSm pick at this scab until it hurts...