29 August 2007

Elections Canada reviewing Conservative election ad spending

From CanWest:
OTTAWA - Federal election watchdog William Corbett is "examining" disputed advertising expenses claimed by Conservative candidates in the last election. Elections Canada confirmed it referred the issue to Corbett last last April.

As Commissioner of Canada Elections, Corbett has the power to pass on cases to prosecutors.

Corbett's involvement indicates the potentially serious nature of the dispute between Elections Canada and the Conservatives over $1 million in advertising costs its candidates paid the party, after the party transferred the money to the candidates.

Violations of the Elections Act that Corbett enforces are subject to fines and imprisonment.

The Conservative Party would not comment on Corbett's involvement. The party says it is in full compliance with the Elections Act.
From the Globe:
The Conservatives spent the maximum amount allowed by a political party during the 2006 campaign. In addition, they gave about $1.2-million to local candidates who had not spent their own personal maximum. The money was then given back to the party on the same day to buy ads in regional markets.

Elections Canada is locked in a court battle with 37 financial officers for candidates who want the government - which returns 60 per cent of the election expenses of candidates who get at least 10 per cent of the votes in their riding - to cover the expenditure.

The federal agency refused, arguing that the party, not the candidates, bought the advertising.