Le Blogue Broadbent

Another Tory hauled to court over campaign spending

Here we go again - more legal troubles for the Conservative Party over election spending.

On Thursday, Elections Canada's case against Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro chugged along with a date in a local courtroom. Del Mastro, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's point man in the House of Commons on all ethics matters until he himself got into trouble, is facing four charges, along with his official agent, related to the 2008 campaign.

The allegation is Del Mastro failed to report a personal contribution of $21,000 and exceeded the maximum spending limit. Sound familiar? Del Mastro's former colleague in the Conservative caucus, Peter Penashue, got into trouble over election spending during the 2011 campaign, and eventually stepped down - but not before Harper defended him.

And don't forget about the Conservative Party's "in and out" election financing scheme during the 2006 election. The party cut a deal in 2011 so Elections Canada charges against four senior party officials, including two senators, were dropped. Instead, the party paid $52,000 in fines to settle the case. Senator Irving Gerstein, head of the Conservative Fund, remains in the Conservative caucus, and is now embroiled in the ongoing Senate scandal.

No such luck for Del Mastro. He left the caucus in September after Elections Canada laid the charges, and sits as an independent in the House of Commons for now.

Del Mastro, though, did enjoy plenty of support from Harper and other Conservative colleagues before things heated up.


Photo: leadnow. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.