(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

The Quesnel Business Support Team is seeking feedback from local business community

‘What is the biggest challenge facing your business today?’

WildSafeBC hires new co-ordinator for Cariboo region

Mareike Moore said the main message is keeping wildlife wild, communities safe

CITY HALL: Investing in our transition strategy

City council news from Mayor Bob Simpson

Family bond strengthened through mask-making

A B.C. Indigenous youth is making face masks for firefighters after having made some for family

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

RCMP, coroner investigate ‘unexpected deaths’ on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Most Read