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"There are no rules about how much donors can give, no rules about when it needs to be disclosed, and there's a lack of clarity about what needs to be disclosed" - Mike Magee, Vision Vancouver Co-Chair (Oct. '07)
We wrote here about a week ago that Vancouver City Councillor Raymond Louie has yet to reveal who bankrolled his unsuccessful leadership campaign last Spring despite a lot of huffing and puffing about disclosure. We now discover that he has turned over all of those records to the central party office of Vision Vancouver.
If Louie won't release the information, Vision Vancouver's Mike Magee, now Mayor Gregor Robertson's Chief of Staff, should call for openness and transparency from his party and request that they release the financial accounts for Louie's nomination campaign immediately. The right thing would have been for Louie to disclose to Vancouver voters who funded his leadership campaign prior to the November 15th election, but better late than never, we say.
It is rather curious that Louie and his Vision colleagues, who created such a storm for previous Mayor Sullivan and his NPA colleagues about fundraising, is now mired in a controversy over disclosure.
One of the reasons why Vision may have resisted releasing Louie's nomination numbers, estimated to be in the six-figure range, is that he may not be obligated to reveal them according to the rules set out in the Vancouver Charter. Legal expertise consulted by CityCaucus.com indicate that you can interpret the following section of the Vancouver Charter in a couple of different ways:
"Campaign contribution" means the amount of any money or the value of any property or services provided, by donation, advance, deposit, discount or otherwise, to a candidate, elector organization or campaign organizer for use in an election campaign or towards the election expenses of an election campaign, including for certainty
(a) the amount of any money provided by a candidate for the election campaign, and
(b) in relation to an election campaign of a campaign organizer who is an individual, the amount of any money provided by the individual for the election campaign;
As the funds he raised were for his unsuccessful bid to win the leadership of his party, this money may not be considered a "campaign contribution" assuming his campaign spent all of those donations on the June 15th leadership bid. If this is indeed the case, Louie may be under no obligation other than to his party Vision Vancouver to release a breakdown of who contributed to his leadership campaign.
Note, we have submitted our CityCaucus.com All Party Questionnaire to Vision Vancouver regarding campaign debt and disclosure. Both the NPA and COPE have responded to the questions fully and in a timely manner. We've received no response from Vision Vancouver yet.
Both Mayor Gregor Robertson and NPA Mayoral candidate Peter Ladner released their donor list to the public in advance of the November 15th civic election campaign.