Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Campaign expenses scandal could scorch Tories

Andre Thouin, an official with Elections Canada, knocks on the door of Conservative Party Headquarters of Canada in Ottawa on April 15, 2008, during an RCMP raid of the office. Elections Canada and the Conservative party have been engaged in a protracted legal battle over alleged campaign spending irregularities from the 2006 election.

Greg Weston, CBC:

Stephen Harper had been prime minister barely nine months when a suspect invoice for Conservative campaign expenses set off alarm bells in the audit department of Elections Canada.

Almost five years later, that one dubious document and a sharp-eyed federal auditor have ignited a political firestorm threatening to scorch the Harper government on the eve of a possible election.

Last week, the Director of Public Prosecutions filed charges against four former Conservative Party executives for election spending violations in the 2006 campaign.

Now the Federal Appeal Court has ruled the Conservative Party engaged in a deliberate scheme that circumvented election laws in 67 ridings.

The latest court ruling suggests the Conservative Party first elected on a promise of ethical and accountable government didn’t get there playing by the rules.

Perhaps worst of all, if the so-called "in-and-out scheme" had been successful, Conservative candidates would have unjustly collected more than $800,000 of taxpayers' money from election rebates they weren't owed.

Continue reading here.

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