EDMONTON, AB (January 8, 2013): Wildrose Official Opposition welcomed the decision by Chief Electoral Officer Brian Fjeldheim to investigate allegations of improper contributions to the PC Party, and called for the PCs to be held to account for allegedly accepting a $430,000 single-source donation in the 2012 election.
In a letter to Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith recently, Fjeldheim indicated independent investigators have been retained. Retired Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Ernest Marshall has been appointed the Director of Investigation for this matter. Wildrose called for an investigation after reports indicated the PCs accepted a single $430,000 donation far exceeding the $30,000 legal donation limit. “Our election laws clearly prohibit parties from accepting donations of more than $30,000 in an election year,” Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw said. “The PC party must be held to account for soliciting and attempting to get around these rules, and Albertans deserve a level playing field during elections and the assurance that their government is not for sale.” Sections 17, 19 and 34 of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act deal with the limits individuals are allowed to contribute in a campaign ($30,000 per individual or entity) and clearly state that individuals can’t donate money that does not belong to them. While Wildrose has called for the banning of corporate donations to political parties and the lowering of personal donation limits to $5,000 annually, or $10,000 in an election year, the PC government voted down these amendments which would have improved accountability and transparency in the fall session. “We hope the investigation will reveal the truth about what happened and clearly establish that the PC’s imaginary so-called ‘Katz loophole’ does not exist,” Saskiw said. “Wildrose will continue to press for a ban on corporate donations to protect the democratic process.”