Beleaguered Conservative MP Eve Adams is being warned by Tory Party brass they have “grave concerns” about how she’s conducted a nomination campaign for a Toronto riding and are now probing allegations she has already exceeded the maximum spending limit for the race.
This means Ms. Adams is not yet in the clear.
As reported Wednesday night, the Conservative National Council opted against barring Ms. Adams from seeking the Tory nomination in Oakville North-Burlington, but is still probing the campaign.
But in a letter to Ms. Adams, obtained by The Globe and Mail, the Conservative National Council is asking her to provide by April 18 a full accounting of spending and donations received for the campaign to win the party nomination in the new riding.
“As part of its continued scrutiny of the nomination contest ... National Council requires that you and your official agent demonstrate that a full accounting of all non-monetary contributions, including the work of professional persons who have not charged the nomination campaign, has been carefully itemized and prepared,” the April 9 letter by party president John Walsh says.
The party has also cautioned the MP that further problems could still result in her disqualification from seeking the Tory nomination.
“The investigation undertaken has also raised concerns that your nomination campaign, if accounting properly for all non-monetary contributions, may have exceeded your nomination campaign spending limit of $17,721.66,” the letter says.
The message from party brass, which follows a Wednesday night teleconference of the Conservative National Council, is that Ms. Adams is being watched carefully.
"As you are aware, our party is in the midst of conducting fair, open and transparent nomination contests ... across the country,” Mr. Walsh’s letter says.
"We will tolerate nothing less. National Council will continue to monitor the nomination campaign in Oakville North-Burlington. Without waiving any previous conduct which National Council assesses as inappropriate, be advised that any improprieties will result in a ... review, and, if warranted, disqualification,” he warned.
Prior to this National Council meeting, Ms. Adams had faced the immediate risk of being barred from seeking the nomination in a suburban Toronto riding after Prime Minister Stephen Harper was presented with accusations that she had been granted unfair advantages in this race, had interfered with the district’s election planning, and verbally abused party members.
The National Council, zeroing in on her treatment of Conservative Party officials, warned the MP against a repeat.
“Our party’s backbone is the tireless work and dedication of volunteers. Without their selfless efforts ... we would not be in government and you would not have a position in the government,” Mr. Walsh says in the letter.
“The National Council insists that our party’s members and activists be treated with the respect and appreciation that they deserve. In future, when interacting with any members in any [riding association] please keep this in mind and refrain from asserting any authority or position other than your position as a fellow member under our party’s constitution.”
In being spared disqualification, Ms. Adams has to date fared better than fiancé Dimitri Soudas, a former key aide to Mr. Harper who vacated a top Conservative Party post last month after extensive evidence arose that he’d violated a contractual pledge not to intervene in the nomination race on Ms. Adams’ behalf.
For the meantime, Ms. Adams is free to continue her campaign to win the Tory nomination for Oakville North-Burlington.
She currently represents a Mississauga seat but is trying to make the jump to the Oakville riding, where she has purchased a home and where data from the last couple of elections suggest the Tories might have a better chance of winning.
Sources say for the National Council the most serious allegation was that Ms. Adams verbally abused Tory officials at a board meeting to which she was not invited. A Conservative source said Mr. Harper was especially unhappy about this accusation.
Ms. Adams, for her part, told The Globe and Mail last week the accusations against her contained a “slew of inaccuracies” and has filed a rebuttal of these accusations with the party.
In a separate letter to Mark Fedak, the president of the Oakville North-Burlington riding association, and a supporter of Ms. Adams’ rival for the nomination, Mr. Walsh reviewed allegations against the MP including her treatment of party officials.
"To date, based on information National Council has received, the conduct does not warrant the disqualification of Ms. Adams as a nomination contestant,” Mr. Walsh told Mr. Fedak.