Blog | September 06, 2012

PIA Calls on Elections Alberta to Investigate

EDMONTON Public Interest Alberta is calling upon Brian Fjeldheim, Chief Electoral Officer with Elections Alberta, to investigate three Progressive Conservative MLAs for breach of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.In reviewing the candidate financial statements that were released to the public on August 30th, we have found two areas of concern that we are asking the Chief Electoral Officer to investigate.The first area of concern is with respect to the $12,000 in campaign contributions from Solo Liquor stores to Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar. The candidate financial statements show that six liquor stores owned by Solo Liquor Holdings Ltd. each contributed $2000 to the Ministerâ��s campaign. The six liquor stores are separate legal entities, but according to their website, â��The ownership of Solo Liquor Holdings Ltd. has been a stable influence throughout the years with equal ownership between Jasbir Hans, Tarlok Tatla and Pali Bedi.â��â��This is one corporate entity that is using its legal structure to not only exceed the $2000 contribution limit from any one individual or corporation, but also to exceed the maximum $10,000 from any one corporation,â�� says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. â��If Elections Alberta allows this to stand, then any corporate chain store could contribute to any one candidate $2000 for every store they own in the province.â��The second area of concern has to do with personal contributions made by, and to, the two Fort McMurray MLAs, Mike Allen and Don Scott. Both Mike Allen and Don Scott contributed the maximum allowable amount to their own campaigns, and then also contributed the maximum allowable amount to each otherâ��s campaigns. In fact, Mike Allenâ��s campaign received three separate contributions of $2000 each from Don Scott, Don Scottâ��s wife, and Don Scottâ��s holding company. These are the only two MLAs in Alberta that contributed to each otherâ��s campaigns.â��While we are asking Elections Alberta to determine if these contributions have broken the letter of the law, they clearly break the spirit of the law,â�� says Moore-Kilgannon. â��If Elections Alberta allows this to happen then there is nothing to stop five MLAs from joining to together to skirt the law by each contributing $10,000 to their own campaigns.â��â��We expect Elections Alberta to investigate these contributions and clarify the rules so that, in future, clear attempts to exceed contribution limits, and disrespect campaign finance rules, will be prevented.â��Public Interest Alberta has been advocating for changes to Albertaâ��s campaign finance laws that would see the elimination of corporate and union funding of political parties, as well as stronger rules that would make campaign contributions more transparent.Read the letter to Elections Alberta here.-30-Media Contact:Bill Moore-Kilgannon 780 420-0471 (office) or 780 993-3736 (cell)Bill will be available for media interviews today between 9:30am and 11:30am over the phone or in the Public Interest Alberta office on the 3rd floor, 10512 â�� 122 St, Edmonton.