A Conservative Party appeals committee has rejected Patrick Brown’s bid to reverse his disqualification earlier this month as a candidate for the party leadership.
The five-page ruling released by the party on Friday also discloses new allegations against the Brampton mayor.
In addition to saying Mr. Brown’s campaign accepted donations from a corporation that covered the costs of a volunteer, the ruling says his campaign permitted more than 500 non-compliant membership sales through an internal web portal provided by the party.
It also says that the Brown campaign used money orders to buy 265 non-compliant memberships.
The ruling accuses the Brown campaign of “both an unwillingness and an inability” to provide the party’s chief returning officer (CRO) with information about the individuals accessing the portal to register memberships.
“The candidate’s failure to address the issue over the course of two weeks was information the CRO could take into account and therefore was the basis for the CRO determination,” the ruling says.
The document says the party’s dispute-resolution and appeals committee is upholding the initial ruling against Mr. Brown, announced in early July, after receiving information on the issues that allowed the chief returning officer to conclude that the Brown campaign broke party rules.
Ian Brodie, the chair of the Conservative leadership election organizing committee (LEOC), said in a statement Friday that he knows some party members have raised questions about the fairness and appropriateness of the LEOC’s actions.
“We took extraordinary steps to urge the Brown campaign to come into compliance with our rules,” he said in the statement, adding he hoped members would read the appeals committee decision.
There was no immediate comment from Mr. Brown or his campaign on Friday despite e-mails and calls seeking a response.
Mr. Brown was expelled for what the party called “serious allegations of wrongdoing,” leaving five candidates in the race that ends with the announcement of a winner on Sept. 10. Those candidates are Ontario MPs Scott Aitchison, Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre as well as former Quebec premier Jean Charest and Roman Baber, an ex-Progressive Conservative member of the Ontario legislature.
Mr. Brown’s campaign has previously responded to allegations that a private corporation was paying a volunteer for her work in his campaign. The former Conservative MP has said his campaign did nothing wrong, and accused the party of being evasive about providing details on the allegations.
Mr. Brown’s campaign said it had sold 150,000 memberships, while the campaign of Mr. Poilievre says it has sold about 311,000. The Conservative Party has not confirmed either number.
Mr. Brown, now seeking a second term as Brampton mayor, has said he is supporting Mr. Charest for the Conservative leadership, and urged his supporters to make their own decisions about which candidate to support.
After his disqualification, Mr. Brown hired high-profile lawyer Marie Henein to seek an appeal of the party’s decision.
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