With only a few days left before Vision Vancouver is legally forced to reveal who bankrolled their last election campaign, word is leaking out the executive has now informed Councillor Raymond Louie the party intends to reveal who funded his failed leadership bid last year.
Whether it's the heat they were feeling from CityCaucus.com or the Vancouver Courier's intrepid reporter Mike Howell, it would appear Louie's financial backers will be made public. To date, the Councillor has steadfastly claimed he turned over all of his financial records to the Vision Party and it was their decision whether to make the information public - not his.
It has been estimated in the media that some of the Vision leadership contenders spent in excess of $100,000 on their campaigns. In the case of Louie, he spent countless dollars on glitzy full page colour advertisements in most of the Chinese daily newspapers in the dying days of his campaign.
So far, not a single Vision candidate, with the exception of Councillor Tim Stevenson has provided the public with any information regarding how much they spent on their campaigns. According to Stevenson, he only spent $1000 on his own campaign to get re-elected. Mayor Robertson did provide a list of donors to his leadership campaign prior to the last election.
A source told CityCaucus.com "there's no way we're going to take any more grief over this whole disclosure issue. The [Vision] Party wants to be seen as open and transparent on this one."
Vision spokesperson Marcella Munro has indicated the Vision executive was recently scheduled to meet to discuss whether to make Louie's donors public. According to the Vancouver Charter, the legislation governing election campaign disclosure, it is unclear whether Louie is obligated to let voters know who financed his leadership bid last year.
If you recall, it was Louie who attacked the previous NPA council for the lack of "continuous disclosure", something he said he strongly believed in. Continuous disclosure is the act of providing the public with ongoing information related to any financial donations you might have received as a public official.
The Vancouver Charter does indicate clearly that political parties and elected officials must continuously disclose any funds they receive to retire previous campaign debts. Therefore, it is anticipated that Vision will include a list of all the donors who have attended fundraising events since they were sworn in on December 8th, 2008 as these funds were likely used to pay down their estimated $400,000 campaign debt.
With the disclosure deadline looming, our finance and audit team on the 4th floor of CityCaucus.com towers plan to pour through each donor record provided by Vision next week. We've socked a few dollars away in our overtime budget as we think there might be a few nuggets in the Vision disclosure documents that warrant a bit of scrutiny.