(Elections BC handout)

Not enough evidence for charges in B.C. political fundraising probe: prosecutor

Premier John Horgan’s New Democrat government brought in campaign finance reform shortly after taking office

A special prosecutor appointed to look into criminal allegations around political fundraising in British Columbia has wrapped up his report and concluded there is insufficient evidence to lay charges.

David Butcher was appointed in 2017 to advise the RCMP on claims made by whistleblowers and in media reports of indirect political contributions and other potential contraventions of the Elections Act.

B.C.’s chief electoral officer asked the RCMP to investigate in March 2017, saying the office wanted to appear neutral in the period leading up to the May 2017 provincial election.

The BC Prosecution Service says in a news release issued Monday that RCMP delivered a report concluding there is no substantial likelihood of a conviction of any of the violations they examined.

The report says where violations have occurred, the RCMP has determined that it is not in the public interest to pursue a prosecution because the cost of doing so would be disproportionate to the value of the donations under investigation.

The allegations were that the absence of contribution limits made it easy for corporations to appear to attempt to buy influence with the government and that the rules were being circumvented by lobbyists and others to hide the true source of donations.

The final report from Mounties says an initial review suggested the scope of the problem was significant but a deeper look found there was no support behind the broad allegations.

RCMP say they conducted an analysis of the lobbyists and corporations named in the media reports and noted that corrections had been filed with Elections BC, confirming donations made by corporations or unions were in fact made by their employees.

“I have spent considerable time reviewing the data gathered by the RCMP and have determined that the conclusion of the police is correct: that there is insufficient evidence available to meet the charge approval standard in this case,” Butcher said in the statement.

Premier John Horgan’s New Democrat government brought in campaign finance reform shortly after taking office, banning union and corporate donations while limiting individual donations to $1,200.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

election

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: Increased federal funding for off-reserve Indigenous services welcomed news in north

Funding to benefit organizations such as friendship centres during pandemic

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

CGL workforce will gradually increase to 650 workers by end of May

The pipeline company provided a project update on May 21.

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read