Alberta’s election commissioner has levied more fines against two people involved with Jeff Callaway‘s United Conservative Party leadership campaign.
The Office of the Election Commissioner has been investigating Callaway’s leadership campaign for months and shows no sign of letting up now that Jason Kenney is premier.
Cameron Davies, formerly Callaway’s co-campaign manager, was fined a total of $12,000 on May 22 for six separate offences.
The new fines against Davies are in relation to irregular donations to the Callaway campaign. Irregular campaign contributions are believed to be at the centre of the election commissioner investigation.
According to the election commissioner, Davies gave funds to former staffer Jeffery Park as well as Karen Brown, Darcy McAllister, and former Callaway campaign chief financial officer Lenore Eaton, with the intention the money would be donated to the campaign.
Davies has also been fined for contributing funds to the Callaway campaign in his wife, Amy Davies’, name, as well as in the name of David Ruiz.
Second time Davies is fined
In February, Davies was fined $15,000 by the election commissioner for two counts of obstruction of an investigation; he has since paid $2,500 toward one of those offences.
A letter from Alberta election commissioner Lorne Gibson obtained by Global News, dated March 14, 2019, addressed to Calgary businessman Robyn Lore confirms the election commissioner is looking into an alleged $60,000 transfer from a Calgary-based business called Agropyron into the personal account of Davies on Sept. 11, 2017.
A corporate search lists Lore as a director of the company.
Gibson wrote his office believes that on Sept. 11, 2017, “all or significant portions of that $60,000 was directed to the Jeff Callaway campaign in a manner that has been determined to be in contravention of the EFCDA (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act).”
Former Callaway campaign CFO also fined
Eaton was also fined on May 22 a total of $10,000 for two offences; they are the first fines levied against Eaton in this investigation.
Court documents obtained by Global News, dated March 21, 2019, state Eaton was also CFO of Energize Alberta Corporation, which is a prohibited entity, during her time as CFO of the Callaway campaign. Prohibited entities are not allowed to make contributions to a leadership contestant or campaign.
The investigation found Eaton “withheld the truth about this entity” and her role with Energize Alberta Corporation during interviews with the OEC.
Eaton initially stated she did not know what Energize Alberta Corporation was and said the corporation was not connected at all with the Callaway campaign, according to the election commissioner.
According to court documents, Eaton could face a maximum fine of $50,000, less than two years of jail time, or both.
To date, the Alberta election commissioner has levied a total of $71,000 in fines in relation Callaway campaign.
WATCH (April 2019: Documents filed with the courts are providing an inside glimpse of the election commissioner’s investigation into the UCP leadership race. Julia Wong explains.
Callaway’s leadership bid has been dogged by allegations it was a kamikaze campaign with the sole purpose of targeting Kenney’s main opponent, Brian Jean. Callaway ultimately dropped out of the race and threw his support behind Kenney.
Emails released to local media, including Global News, earlier this year show ongoing contact during the 2017 leadership race between the Kenney and Callaway campaigns. They suggest Kenney staffers provided strategic direction, attack ads, speaking notes, speeches and media support to the Callaway campaign.
Throughout the 2019 Alberta general election campaign, Kenney denied involvement in the scheme.
The RCMP has confirmed it is looking into the 2017 UCP leadership race.
— With files from Global News’ Julia Wong