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The Globe and Mail

Tory rival accuses Eve Adams of vastly overspending in nomination race

Conservatve MP Eve Adams is shown responding to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Nov. 28, 2013.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Tory MP Eve Adams is facing allegations from her rival that she has vastly overspent the campaign limit in her battle for the Conservative nomination in a suburban Toronto riding.

It's a sign of how hard fought this race has become.

Natalia Lishchyna, who is running against Ms. Adams for the right to carry the Tory banner in Oakville North-Burlington, has commissioned a private estimate of what the MP has already spent in the contest.

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Ms. Lishchyna's campaign has sent its unofficial estimate to the Conservative Party's National Council.

The estimate, prepared by a retired accountant with decades of experience in financial audits, suggests Ms. Adams has already spent between $78,570 and $192,965 on the campaign.

The mandated spending limit for the Oakville North-Burlington nomination contest is about $17,000.

"This summary is based on the types of expenditures known to us through receipt of materials, becoming aware of events and other activities through the media and information provided to us by members of the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding and other types of expenditures normally occurring during an election process," Douglas Varty told Ms. Lishchyna in a letter obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The estimate includes campaign literature, automated calls, events, political consultants and even hockey tickets to see the Mississauga Steelheads.

The estimate also includes its own estimate of how much the donation of fiancé Dimitri Soudas' time would cost. This would be among the most controversial estimated figures because it assumes the hours he donated alone are valued at between $17,000 to $23,000.

Ms. Adams called her rival's estimate a "completely theoretical, farcical, baseless" measure of her campaign. "There is zero basis to it," she said.

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She said the estimate is based on "grandiose projections" about what her campaign is doing and wrongly interprets Elections Canada rules.

"This a desperate attempt by a losing group to try and manufacture issues as they have been trying to do for weeks," she said of her rivals.

Ms. Adams said she has been the target of dirty tricks for some time now and her team prefers to take the "high road."

She said her campaign has sought guidance from Elections Canada on all campaign expenses and "we are absolutely in compliance with Elections Canada rules."

The MP said her nomination campaign spending is below the roughly $17,000  spending limit set by Elections Canada.

Ms. Adams was recently warned by Tory Party brass they have "grave concerns" about how she's conducted a nomination campaign for a Toronto riding.

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Earlier this month, the Conservative National Council opted against barring Ms. Adams from seeking the Tory nomination in Oakville North-Burlington, but is still probing the campaign.

She was required by last week to provide a full accounting of spending and donations received for the campaign to win the party nomination in the new riding.

Ms. Adams had recently faced the 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 in an early April letter.

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