Another fine has been levied in the Callaway Kamikaze Campaign Case, this time for an illegal pass-through donation.
Karen Brown was handed the $3,500 administrative penalty yesterday by the Office of Alberta’s Election Commissioner. She has been identified as a former United Conservative Party financial officer.
In a characteristically terse notification, the Office of Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson said only that Ms. Brown contributed $3,500 to Jeff Callaway’s campaign to lead the UCP in 2017 “with funds given or furnished by another person.”
Under Alberta’s Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, a person may only donate their own money to a party leadership campaign. Under the same law, the Election Commissioner is severely restricted in what can be said when reporting penalties.
Ms. Brown had little to say beyond that she had no comment when contacted by the Toronto Star’s Alberta news staff, but the newspaper identified her as the former chief financial officer of the Calgary-Falconridge UCP Board.
She is known in Conservative circles to have been associated with the campaign of Hardyal “Happy” Mann, a candidate for the UCP nomination in that riding until he was rejected by the party after allegations he was involved in an incident in which a local reporter was assaulted.
Mr. Mann’s name, in turn, also comes up in other recent stories about former Mr. Callaway’s alleged “Kamikaze Mission” to sink former Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean and ensure Jason Kenney became the leader of the UCP, as he did.
In December, the Star’s Calgary edition reported that Mr. Mann claimed to have met Mr. Kenney at a secret get-together at Mr. Callaway’s home in the summer of 2017 at which the Kamikaze campaign was discussed. In the story, Mr. Mann described himself as a “middle man” in that operation.
And when Press Progress crunched some of the donor information filed by the Callaway campaign with Elections Alberta and reported that “66 per cent of the $86,000 Callaway’s campaign raised from big donors ($250 or more) can be traced to members of just nine families,” the publication said three members of Mr. Mann’s family were involved.
On Tuesday, the Office of the Election Commissioner announced that a former co-manager of Mr. Callaway’s campaign had been slapped with a whopping $15,000 in fines for “obstruction of an investigation.”
After the hefty penalty was announced, Cameron Davies had his lawyer tell media he “specifically denies the allegations brought against him and will vigorously defend this matter going forward.”
The Office of the Election Commissioner is known to have been investigating the allegations about Mr. Callaway’s campaign since last year, and has hired two former police officers specializing in white-collar crime to conduct its inquiries.
Immediately after the penalties were announced, Mr. Davies was fired by the UCP, for which he had been working since mid-November drafting policy briefing notes.
The investigation continues.
CORRECTION & APOLOGY: Cameron Wilson is political director of the Wilberforce Project. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier version of this post. In addition, a photograph of Mr. Wilson was misidentified as being of Cameron Davies. AlbertaPolitics.ca regrets the error and the author apologizes to both Mr. Wilson and Mr. Davies for this error. Thanks as always to readers for spotting this error.