Patrick Brown fined $100,000 by Federal Conservative Party

OTTAWA — Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has been fined $100,000 by the federal Conservative Party as part of Elections Canada’s ongoing investigation into his ill-fated leadership campaign, it has been learned. the star.

The party sent Brown a letter notifying him of the fine last Thursday, just days before Brown was due for re-election as mayor – a job he decided to resume after the Tories forced him out of their competition in July.

The party’s decision to disqualify him stemmed from several issues, including allegations that he may have broken election law by using a third-party company to pay campaign staff and that some of his membership sales violated the rules of the left.

Both are now in the hands of Elections Canada investigators, who were in contact with the party as recently as this month, multiple sources told The Star.

And new allegations, first reported by Brampton news site The Pointer last week, are also now before them, the Star has also learned.

Documents obtained by The Pointer and reviewed by the Star suggest that a social media company paid by Brampton City Hall to create and monitor online content may also have posted messages related to the leadership campaign.

Using city hall resources to pay for a leadership contest would violate the ban on municipalities contributing to leadership contests.

In a statement to the Star, Brown responded that the Pointer’s allegations were « false » and said a separate company was advertising leadership. Brown said the social media company, Solarit Solutions, is exploring legal options against the pointer, and he expects them to « get a retraction and an apology. »

Conservative leadership candidates have until early next year to fully disclose their campaign spending, so it’s unclear if Brown’s leadership finances could provide further details.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections declined to comment on the status of the investigation.

« Our office reviews every complaint it receives to determine whether or not the allegations fall within its mandate, » he said in a statement.

“The CCE takes all complaints seriously and, where appropriate, investigates thoroughly. Only at the end of a review or investigation – and only in cases where formal compliance or enforcement action is taken – is limited information made available to the public.

The party fine represents the total compliance bond that all candidates had to pay to enter the race.

He’s not the only candidate to be fined – winner Pierre Poilievre and Leslyn Lewis were awarded $50,000 for failing to appear in the party’s third debate.

Party officials and Brown’s campaign had been back and forth for days before his disqualification for various campaign irregularities, including memberships.

His team said they had sold over 150,000 cards.

Data obtained by the Star shortly after the end of the race suggests that 62,000 memberships were sold directly through its web portal; Brown’s campaign argued that many more were sold directly by the party itself.

Among the problems uncovered by the party, however, were hundreds of memberships sold allegedly in violation of the rules.

These included 78 paid with sequential terms – which is not allowed – and all appeared to be from the same person.

In documents released by the party earlier this year, they said when they asked Brown for an explanation, he did not offer one.

“The (returning officer) had information that the candidate had improperly paid for his memberships and that, faced with this evidence, the candidate simply chose to deny the allegation without providing a satisfactory explanation,” reads the party committee’s decision that rejected Brown’s appeal. of his disqualification.

Party sources cited the incident as one of several membership-related irregularities that prompted the fine.

Brown told the Star that the 78 memberships were sent from Conservative Party headquarters, not from his campaign. He alleged his campaign told the party he was not responsible for those members, and “it was absurd for them to assume they were ours. … The party incorrectly assumed that all cultural memberships received by mail were ours.

Her campaign has previously insisted she did nothing wrong and accused the party of withholding money owed to her.

The party disputes this allegation.

« We were told to expect (the filing) in July, » Brown said. « We never expected fairness from the CPC board. »

With files by Robert Benzie


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