Elec­tion chief look­ing into ob­struc­tion al­le­ga­tions

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - Elec­tion chief look­ing into ob­struc­tion al­le­ga­tions
The prov­ince’s elec­tion com­mis­sioner is dig­ging into al­le­ga­tions some­one is at­tempt­ing to ob­struct his in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble ir­reg­u­lar cam­paign do­na­tions dur­ing the 2017 UCP lead­er­ship race.The al­le­ga­tions are raised in a Jan. 24 let­ter ob­tained by Post­media that was sent to an un­named per­son who is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into fi­nance al­le­ga­tions re­lated to the Jeff Call­away lead­er­ship cam­paign. In the let­ter, elec­tion com­mis­sioner Lorne Gib­son said an in­di­vid­ual has been try­ing to con­tact peo­ple in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to “dis­suade co-op­er­a­tion with in­ves­ti­ga­tors and hin­der the proper dis­po­si­tion of mat­ters in or­der to avoid these pro­ceed­ings.”The let­ter says that if the ob­struc­tion al­le­ga­tions are sub­stan­ti­ated, the of­fence may be con­trary to the Elec­tion Fi­nances and Con­tri­bu­tions Dis­clo­sure Act, and could also war­rant sig­nif­i­cant penal­ties if it’s deemed to be a “cor­rupt prac­tice.”The let­ter says the re­cip­i­ent will be asked about be­ing con­tacted by some­one at­tempt­ing to in­flu­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and di­rects the re­cip­i­ent to get in touch with his of­fice im­me­di­ately if the con­tact took place.An emailed state­ment at­trib­uted to United Con­ser­va­tive Party ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Jan­ice Har­ring­ton said the party is not aware of any­one pres­sur­ing peo­ple not to par­tic­i­pate in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.“The party would not and has not dis­cour­aged any in­di­vid­ual from co-op­er­at­ing with the elec­tion com­mis­sioner as legally re­quired. We ex­pect laws to be en­forced, and we of course ex­pect the elec­tion com­mis­sioner to carry out his man­date,” the state­ment reads.“Nei­ther the party, the leader, nor the leader’s lead­er­ship cam­paign have been ap­proached by the elec­tions com­mis­sioner.”In De­cem­ber, United Con­ser­va­tive MLA Wayne An­der­son told Post­media he was meet­ing with Elec­tions Al­berta to dis­cuss what he de­scribed as po­ten­tially “ne­far­i­ous” go­ings-on dur­ing the High­wood UCP nom­i­na­tion race, which he lost.An­der­son’s rum­blings of dis­con­tent be­gan when a record­ing sur­faced in which UCP or­ga­niz­ers for lead­er­ship hope­ful Jeff Call­away talk about their guy run­ning a “kamikaze” cam­paign on be­half of UCP leader Ja­son Ken­ney.In the record­ing, they ex­plain how Call­away would say things about lead­er­ship ri­val and for­mer Wil­drose boss Brian Jean — Ken­ney’s ma­jor ri­val for the top UCP job — that Ken­ney wouldn’t be able to say.Call­away re­peat­edly tar­geted Jean in de­bates and mul­ti­ple me­dia in­ter­views through­out the UCP lead­er­ship cam­paign be­fore drop­ping out of the race and en­dors­ing Ken­ney.An­der­son be­lieves the same peo­ple in that record­ing un­der­mined his own bid for the UCP nom­i­na­tion in High­wood.(Some­one is try­ing to con­tact peo­ple in or­der to) dis­suade co-op­er­a­tion with in­ves­ti­ga­tors and hin­der the proper dis­po­si­tion of mat­ters.In a Cal­gary Her­ald in­ter­view when he dropped out of the race, Call­away de­nied mak­ing a deal with Ken­ney, and he re­peated that again in a later email to Post­media.Call­away said “cat­e­gor­i­cally no” when asked if he ran as a kamikaze con­tes­tant or if there was any agree­ment be­tween him and Ken­ney, adding he knew Jean bet­ter than the other con­tes­tants, hav­ing worked to­gether as pres­i­dent and leader of the Wil­drose party for 2 ½ years.

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