Former United Conservative Party leadership candidate Jeff Callaway, accused of running a kamikaze campaign in 2017, was allegedly at the centre of a plan to transfer thousands of dollars to his campaign so that he could continue in the race, according to recently filed court documents.
A letter sent to Callaway from the Office of the Election Commissioner of Alberta on July 19 details various allegations and orders him to pay $70,000 in penalties.
The letter was part of court documents obtained by Global News that were filed by Callaway and his legal team early this month as part of an application for a judicial review of the penalties imposed by elections commissioner Lorne Gibson.
Callaway argued Gibson breached his “duty of fairness” in a number of ways, including failing to consider all the evidence, demonstrating bias against Callaway and misinterpreting the provisions of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.
Gibson alleged that Callaway agreed to be a “’dark-horse’ or ‘kamikaze’ contestant to target Brian Jean for the benefit of Jason Kenney.” His letter goes on to claim Callaway’s campaign was having trouble raising money, so he put in action a plan to have a friend make donations through other individuals.
None of Gibson’s claims have been proven in court. Callaway’s lawyer has yet to respond to Global News’ request for comment.
Callaway has previously publicly denied any wrongdoing in the 2017 leadership race.
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The letter alleges Callaway instructed campaign staffer Cameron Davies to meet with Callaway’s friend Robyn Lore, “who was going to give Davies a bank draft.” The meeting allegedly took place on the morning of Sept. 11, 2017, in downtown Calgary.
Gibson’s letter accuses Lore of transferring $60,000 from a business account into Davies’ personal bank account. It claims the two then walked into the branch of a local bank and proceeded to withdraw a number of bank drafts and cash from Davies’ personal account.
“The bank drafts Davies drew from his account were for individuals who had agreed to make contributions to your campaign using furnished funds,” Gibson’s letter reads.
“The cash Davies withdrew from his account was given to him in envelopes and was for the same purpose,” the letter reads.
Gibson alleged the money from Lore’s business account was used to supply money to people who had previously agreed to donate towards Callaway’s campaign.
“By depositing the $60,000 through Davies’ personal account, you and Lore took planned and coordinated steps to obscure the actual source of the funds furnished to the straw contributors who contributed to your campaign,” Gibson writes.
“The actual source of the funds… was a prohibited entity and prohibited from contributing to a registered leadership contestant.”
In a statement to Macleans in March, Lore claimed the $60,000 was only a loan from a company he owned.
Callaway eventually dropped out of the leadership race and endorsed Jason Kenney. Kenney went on to win the leadership race and became Alberta’s premier following the spring 2019 provincial election.
Throughout the 2019 Alberta general election campaign, Kenney denied involvement in the alleged scheme.