Liberals not fundraising illegally: Elections NL

James McLeod
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The Liberal party didn’t break any rules with a fundraiser Wednesday night, and it’s batting back against criticism from the NDP.

Bruce Chaulk, director of finance for Elections Newfoundland and Labrador, said the Liberals were entirely within the law when they held a fundraiser and meet-and-greet with Cartwright-L’anse au Clair candidate Lisa Dempster this week.

On Wednesday, NDP members said it looked like the Liberals were brea-king the law by fundraising for Dempster before the Cartwright-L’anse au Clair byelection was formally called.

Liberal vice-president John Hogan said he didn’t know where the NDP was coming from. He said the elections financing rules have been clear all along.

“They’re wrong, and they’ve made an allegation that’s not true,” he said. “If money is coming into the party, there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, if the NDP have a different opinion on that, well then, I can’t comment on that.”

Candidates are not allowed to accept donations until an election is called. If a political candidate accepted a donation before the writ for the election was issued, that would be illegal.

Political parties, on the other hand, are allowed to accept money at any time.

The NDP said that because the Liberals’ fundraiser said it was to “support Lisa,” that looked like a fundraiser for the candidate.

Hogan said that’s just not the case.

“I wrote a cheque (Wednesday) night to the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. I don’t know how you could write a cheque to anybody else, because Lisa’s campaign doesn’t exist, so if you write a cheque to Lisa Dempster’s campaign, there’s no bank account to even put it in,” he said.

“If you donate to the political party, the Liberal Party, indirectly you’re supporting all our current MHAs, you’re supporting future candidates, (and) you’re supporting potential candidates, which Lisa will be.”

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Organizations: NDP, Elections Newfoundland and Labrador, Liberal Party

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Recent comments

  • Good Help - Hard To Find
    May 13, 2013 - 10:32

    The event invitation on the Liberal website makes it pretty clear it was a fundraiser to help Lisa Dempster. Why would Ms. Dempster and her chief financial officer fly to St. John's if the event was not for her. The Liberal Executive knew the rules and was prepared to follow them. Whoever wrote the invitation did not know the rules. That's the difference here. The Liberals had to lay off their Executive Director due to lack of funds to pay him and now there is less oversight of well meaning but uninformed staff.

  • Mark
    May 12, 2013 - 09:01

    Randy, what rule are you talking about?

  • Randy
    May 11, 2013 - 12:15

    This makes NO sense. They are not allowed to raise money for a particular candidate yet they went ahead and had a fundraiser for their candidate. Just by saying that all of the money MAY not go to their candidate they are allowed to break the rules? Why have any rules?

    • Prescient
      May 12, 2013 - 19:34

      Randy, they did not break any rules. This could not be more clear. The NDP is wrong (no surprise there) and wasting their time (ditto). Provincial political parties are allowed (indeed they are encouraged) to raise money at all times and this is what they did. The fact that they had past candidates and likely future candidates at the event does not change this fact.