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NDP won’t appeal fine for illegal donations

The NDP has decided not to appeal a $10,000 fine for keeping illegal campaign donations.

The NDP has decided not to appeal a $10,000 fine for keeping illegal campaign donations.

Party president Peggy Mahon said a cheque was mailed off yesterday to the office of chief electoral officer Christine McCulloch.

The donations were made during last year’s election campaign when the Mainland Building and Construction Trades Council skirted the $5,000 maximum donation limit by funnelling $45,000 through its nine member unions to the NDP.

The NDP said it returned the money and McCulloch ruled it had no way of knowing it was inappropriate. But late last month, McCulloch levelled the $10,000 fine when it turned out the money was never returned.

At the time, Mahon said the party was considering an appeal. She wouldn’t say yesterday why that idea was dropped.

“I’m actually not going to answer that question because we had an in-camera executive meeting to talk about that,” Mahon said.

“We had a very thoughtful and thorough discussion. And after that discussion the executive decided not to appeal.”

Provincial secretary Ed Wark accepted responsibility for not returning the money, saying he was waiting for the outcome of McCulloch’s investigation. He resigned his position with the party. Mahon said yesterday Wark was the only one who knew the money had not been returned.

The $10,000 will come out of the party’s general operating fund, which is made up of private donations and public funding.

“It’s definitely going to put some strain on (our finances),” said Mahon. “We hadn’t anticipated, of course, this fine when we put together our budget for this year.”

 
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