Sunday, April 20, 2008

False or misleading

The first pieces of information about the search warrant against the Cons have been made public - and they seem to confirm my suspicion that the warrant was aimed largely at putting individual names to acts which are already known to have taken place. But it's worth noting that the warrant suggests as well that the offences currently being investigated go beyond what would have been inherent in the Conadscam scheme alone:
The warrant says that the elections commissioner believes that the Conservative Party of Canada and its official agent, the Conservative Fund of Canada, violated the Canada Elections Act. The party and the fund are separately accused of exceeding the maximum amount allowed for elections expenses. The Conservative Fund is also accused of filing financial returns "that it knew or ought reasonably to have known contained a materially false or misleading statement."
Up to now, it seemed that the issue raised by the Cons' campaign expenses was limited to the differing views as to what should be considered a national expenditure under the Canada Elections Act. But if that were true, then there's no reason why any financial return should have been anything but accurate in portraying what the Cons had done.

As a result, the added charge seems to signal that Elections Canada has also found independent problems with how the Cons reported on their election expenses. Which means that the Cons may be in serious legal trouble even if they manage to defend the in-and-out scheme itself.

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