(Elections BC handout)

(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

(Tracey Roberts Photo)
COVID-19 rule followers are not suckers

Cassidy Dankochik’s column from the Jan. 20 paper

A dust advisory is in place for Quesnel. Residents are asked to be careful near heavy traffic areas. (File Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel under dust advisory

High levels of dust in the air can be dangerous for people with COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

A tree near the Sword Avenue baseball diamond was felled by high winds. The diamond is planned to be decommissioned by the city of Quesnel. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel planning on shutting down ballfields

City council hopes maximize the usage at West Fraser Timber Park and Barlow Creek

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Most Read