Robocall scandal update: Elections Canada probing spending records of Conservative campaign

The original team of robocall scandal breaking reporters Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher have published their latest report “Elections Canada probing spending records of Conservative campaign in robocall scandal“. Based on the evidences presented in the article, Canadians need some further information from a Guelph, Ontario election campaign. In particular, further explanation of missing election expenses invoices from Andrew Prescott, the deputy campaign manager of Conservative candidate Marty Burke in Guelph, Ontario.

Here is an excerpt from the article (with emphasis and additional link added), I highly recommend you read the full article. It is a great read.

“Prescott said Monday that he had given his campaign manager invoices for the calls but could not explain why the expenses did not appear on the financial report sent to Elections Canada.

He said he used a RackNine account he held through his own company, Prescoan, to place the automated calls announcing Burke campaign events. He said he then submitted invoices to the campaign for these costs.

“I gave them to the campaign manager,” Prescott said. “There was definitely no effort to hide anything or obscure anything.”

There is no record of these expenses anywhere in the Burke campaign return, however.

Burke’s unsuccessful campaign against Liberal incumbent Frank Valeriote was managed by Ken Morgan, a former candidate for city council in Guelph. Burke has not spoken publicly since the robocalls controversy and has not responded to emails requesting comment. Postmedia was unable to reach Morgan.

It is unclear why the Burke campaign did not report the costs Prescott said he submitted. Failing to declare campaign expenses is a breach of the Elections Act.

The detailed expense claims submitted to the Burke campaign included receipts for everything from local advertising costs, gasoline and pizza for campaign workers. But the Burke campaign’s accountant, Abdul-Qayum Ali, said he never received any invoices for RackNine. [...]

Before the robocalls story first broke last month, Prescott told the Ottawa Citizen he had paid for RackNine bills himself and was reimbursed by the campaign through the $1,100 he was paid.

But an agreement signed by Morgan and Ali on March 26, at the beginning of the campaign, shows Prescott was always to be paid $1,100 as an honourium for providing “general labour” on the campaign.

Other campaign workers who had similar agreements in place were reimbursed for the costs they incurred during the course of the campaign. But there is no sign of any expenses Prescott incurred.

In a blog post in July, not long after the election, Prescott described himself as a “cellphone expert.”

Being an IT guy, and being the resident cellphone expert amongst my friends and political circles, people ask me for advice on who’s got the best deals for cellphones.

The Guelph Mercury reported last week that Elections Canada, which started the investigation in May, interviewed campaign worker Michael Sona last Tuesday for the first time.

Sona, who was director of communications for the Burke campaign, made headlines during the campaign when he tried to shut down a special ballot being held for university students by trying to grab the ballot box.”

By the way, make sure you read the Hill Times article “Meet the reporters who broke robocalls story: one’s a source guy, the other a data-geek- Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor say they are a little surprised at how big their robocalls story got” for some back story.

On a personal note, I want to express my thank to Glen and Stephen for breaking the robocall story initially. Please keep up the good work re the Robocalls and election fraud investigation as Canadians deserve to know the full story. To me, “Pierre Poutine” is a giant middle-finger to Canadian voters and Canadian democracy.

With no exaggeration, the foundation of our democracy is being attacked. You and your news media colleagues play the important roles of discovering and supply facts for us Canadians to base our views and opinions.

NOTE: RT ‪@SusanDelacourt‬ The ElxnCan investigation into #robocalls is well beyond Guelph, colleague @TondaMacC reports: #cdnpoli

See also Canadian Press March 2nd article, “Robocalls Scandal: Andrew Prescott, Key Guelph Tory Election Staffer, Defends Using RackNine

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