Nova Scotia NDP fined for illegal donations

During the last provincial election in Nova Scotia, I wrote a story about a large transfer of money to the NDP on a single day,

The provincial NDP has been caught in a funding scandal during this election regarding a massive influx of money on a single day of the campaign. The hive-like organization of the NDP spreads down to its union affiliates as well. On April 9th, a resolution at the Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades Council was passed to reimburse member unions for their individual $5,000 donations to the NDP. Essentially, this packed the contributions into a $50,000 envelope and this was passed onto NDP party HQ. The scandal here is that what was essentially a $50,000 donation was made to look like 10 individual $5,000 donations (including one from the organizing union). The NDP received the cheques on the week of May 5th. Prior to this, they received a phone call to let them know these donations were coming.

The scandal broke on May 30th when a reporter got wind of what happened and called the NDP party office asking them about the donations. The party claimed to be unaware of the cheques. Two days later, the party felt it necessary to call a press conference to declare that they would return $45,000 worth of donations.

On June 5th, 2009, the CBC published a report on its website about the NDP complaining about “defamatory” radio ads against that party during the campaign,

The NDP is demanding seven radio stations around Nova Scotia pull election advertisements produced for and paid by the Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.

The radio spots, which began running Friday, state the NDP has accepted “$45,000 in illegal campaign contributions from union bosses.”

In a letter sent to the radio stations Friday by Michael Coyle, a lawyer for the NDP, claims these statements are “false, scandalous and seriously defamatory.”

“In truth, the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party is not, and has never been accused of, or investigated for, any ‘illegal donations,'” writes Coyle.

Today, Elections Nova Scotia put out the following press release notifying the public that NSNDP has been fined the maximum amount under the relevant elections Act for the transgression.