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.”