Blog | September 17, 2012

By Dave Cooper, Edmonton JournalEDMONTON - The provincial government committed again to lifting the veil of secrecy around who made illegal political donations, after the chief electoral officer included legislative change among his recommendations.Alberta�s chief electoral officer has investigated more than 80 complaints since the last provincial election. But even where he�s given fines or warnings, the identity of those acting against the law has been kept a mystery.Legislative changes to make public both their identity and the penalty will be introduced this fall, said Josh Stewart, press secretary to Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis. The government is currently reviewing Chief Electoral Officer Brian Fjeldheim�s report, which was delivered about two weeks ago.�That�s the plan right now, to make changes to the (Election Act and Elections Finances Contributions and Disclosure Act) to fulfil the promise we made in the spring,� said Stewart on Saturday.�We got the recommendations from the chief electoral officer, so we are reviewing those and one of the recommendations is to make that change.�Fjeldheim has said provincial law prevents him from providing more details about the investigations, including who has been fined, the amount of the fines and which political parties benefited.The Conservative government initially defended the decision to keep the information secret. But it later reversed its stance, promising to introduce legislation this fall to ensure the results of the investigations can be made public.Complaints have continued. Last week, elections officials said they were investigating allegations that three Progressive Conservative candidates breached elections contribution laws.Bill Moore-Kilgannon of Public Interest Alberta alleged the three Tories accepted donations that run afoul of the Elections Finances Contributions and Disclosure Act. He alleged that Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen and Don Scott, associate minister of transparency, breached the act by contributing to each other�s campaigns.Moore-Kilgannon said the politicians effectively �doubled down� by contributing the maximum $2,000 to their own campaigns and the same amount to each other�s.Both MLAs denied the allegations.By Dave Cooper
dcooper@edmontonjournal.comThis article was published in the Edmonton Journal on September 16, 2012. Read the full article on the Edmonton Journal website.