Three more donors to failed UCP candidate Jeff Callaway have been found by Alberta’s election commissioner to have donated money that wasn’t theirs as part of an investigation into how Mr. Callaway financed his campaign.
The province’s election commissioner and the RCMP are looking into donations to Mr. Callaway’s short-lived 2017 leadership campaign, which has faced separate allegations that Mr. Callaway ran as a stalking-horse candidate to benefit current UCP Leader Jason Kenney.
The continued scrutiny of the United Conservative Party leadership contest has followed Mr. Kenney into the provincial election campaign, which began Tuesday ahead of a vote scheduled for April 16.
Darcy McAllister was handed two fines, according to a notice posted Tuesday to the election commissioner’s website − $4,000 for contributing “funds given or furnished by another person” and another $4,000 for furnishing a donation made by his wife, Maja McAllister.
In addition, Maja McAllister and David Ruiz were handed letters of reprimand for donating money from another person.
Neither the McAllisters, Mr. Ruiz nor Mr. Callaway could immediately be reached for comment. Mr. McAllister has previously declined to comment on the source of his donation, citing the ongoing investigation.
Last month, the commissioner fined another donor, Karen Brown, $3,500 for the same offence and also fined one of Mr. Callaway’s staffers, Cameron Davies, $15,000 for obstructing an investigation. He is now co-operating with the investigation.
Investigators with the province’s election commissioner have been contacting Mr. Callaway’s donors and demanding evidence of where the money for those donations came from. The RCMP confirmed last week that it is also looking into information related to Mr. Callaway’s donors that was submitted through an anonymous tip.
Mr. Callaway’s campaign has been under scrutiny since late last year, when an audio recording surfaced in which UCP insiders appeared to discuss Mr. Callaway running a “kamikaze” campaign in which he would attack rival candidate Brian Jean so Mr. Kenney would not have to. Mr. Callaway did spend much of his campaign attacking Mr. Jean, former leader of the now-defunct Wildrose party, before dropping out and endorsing Mr. Kenney.
Those allegations were amplified this past weekend when a cache of leaked e-mails showed Mr. Kenney’s current deputy chief of staff was in regular contact with Mr. Davies, providing materials that included speaking notes, message planning, graphics and videos.
In one e-mail exchange, Mr. Davies laid out a timeline for the campaign that included Mr. Callaway dropping out.
Mr. Kenney and Mr. Callaway have both denied there was a plot to mount a “kamikaze” campaign. However, Mr. Kenney has acknowledged his team communicated with Mr. Callaway’s staff, which he described as normal in a leadership campaign that involves multiple ballots.
The New Democrats have argued that the recent leaks show Mr. Kenney engaged in House of Cards-style politics and then lied to Albertans about it.