Dean Del Mastro (DDM) has been under Elections Canada investigation during most of the RoboCon scandal hoo-haw since March, and Postmedia uncovered why. It’s in regard to a $21,000 personal cheque DDM wrote to his campaign’s tel-intelligence company, Holinshed Research Group, which suggests based on the election expense report filed for his 2008 effort, that he exceeded his contribution limit, and his campaign expense limit. Oops. It’s not proven in court, but it looks bad given what we can see so far.
He whined on Power N Politics last night that Elections Canada hadn’t informed him he was being investigated. Why would they want to give a shout to someone whom they might need to raid to get evidence from prior to its destruction? I know Elections Canada let the wonderfully innocent in-tel-igence company RMG review its tapes and logs once claims of criminal activity at a live-call centre were alleged in an affidavit. Not everyone mentioned in an investigation gets the same consideration, I guess.
The company his campaign used, Holinshed, appears to have been sold off last year.
Before the news flooded Google, here are some of the top results for doing a search regarding Holinshed yesterday. There was a civil court dispute between DDM’s campaign and Holinshed about work done for the campaign, and payment. Holinshed was also a CEAP beneficiary. That seems a bit odd to me, and to Ross K.
The NDP also found themselves in hot water regarding contributions from unions, although they repaid the money Elections Canada said they owed, without quibbling. The Conservatives complained about last year’s convention, and the NDP had taken too much from unions. Should there be punishment on top of having to repay? Probably.
Election Finance Act convict Vic “The Violator” Toews rushed to DDM’s defence. Isn’t that sweet.
ADDED: 2008 expense limits, if you want to confirm what was in the story at top.
35071 Peterborough 92,566.79
DDM doesn’t clear much up.
The cheque’s memo clearly shows it was written with the “Peterborough Conservative EDA” in mind.
Del Mastro said he was in the process of reviewing records and couldn’t say what exactly the $21,000 cheque paid for.
“They (Holinshed) undertook a small amount of work during the campaign,” he said.
The small claims court file includes a copy of a cheque
“That’s reflected in the campaign expenditure (report). They did also undertake some work at various times for the association. Those would be on separate statements.”
Neither the Del Mastro campaign-expense disclosures nor the annual report for the Conservative electoral district show a payment of $21,000 to Holinshed.
“Those violations are each punishable by a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment for as long as five years.”
How can he not answer a single question with a straight answer, or even one that is on topic?
T-“Why didn’t you report these to Elections Canada?”
DDM-“Jobs and the Economy.” Family Guy style non-sequitur, it’s supposed to be a joke, right?
ADDED ALSO: Why did I grab a few links from Google about the defunct firm that is also mentioned in this dispute over campaign work done at allegedly $21,000? Because other firms linked to RoboCon tend to run in Conservative circles and wind up being the indirect (or maybe direct) beneficiaries of kind government grants to get work done that might be described as voter identification work for a political party that later works with said company. The Conservatives seem to demand exclusive contracts with the in-tel-igence companies they hire on, as another random factoid. Put two and two together in your head, because litigious lawyers are no doubt stalking the WWW.
UPDATE: Of interest on Kady’s post, is this comment
at 12:09 PM ET
Holinshed has crafted a comprehensive, well formulated rebuttal (statement) to this article on their website – Holinshed.com, and from what I read it looks like we may not have heard the end of this story. However, it also appears that the company is no longer at it’s advertised location, and attempts to reach Holinshed have been answered by a pre-recorded voice message.
Not home, because they were sold shortly after last election. I wonder why the timing worked out to be right after then, and they’d just got paid for a bunch of work (or not paid as small claims court might suggest). One theory could be the payments may have exceeded campaign spending limits, so no cheques were cut so Holinshed would be left holding the bag, with the client unwilling to admit that work was ordered because paying the bill would mean 5 years in jail.