The Manitoba Liberals are asking Elections Manitoba to investigate a series of financial transfers made from Federal NDP campaigns to the provincial Manitoba NDP Party last fall.
Campaign filings from a number of Federal NDP candidates show their campaigns made transfers directly to the Manitoba NDP.
Under Manitoba's election financing law, only individuals are allowed to donate to provincial political parties. Donations or transfers of funds from corporations, unions or any other organizations - including other political parties - are not allowed.
NDP MP Niki Ashton's campaign transferred $47.59 to the Danielle Adams Campaign and $630.68 to the Manitoba NDP
NDP MP Daniel Blaikie's campaign transferred $800.00 to the campaign of NDP MLA for Wolseley, Lisa Naylor
Blaikie's campaign also transferred $1,240 to the campaign of NDP MLA Nello Altomare
"Manitoba's campaign finance laws are very clear: only individuals who live in Manitoba can donate. Here, we have multiple transfers involving the campaigns of two sitting NDP MPs and three sitting NDP MLAs. That is not allowed," said Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party and MLA for St. Boniface.
Under Manitoba's Campaign Finance Act, the penalty for individuals who violate the donations law is $5,000, but for organizations it can be as high as $50,000.
Because both the provincial and federal NDP parties were involved in back-to-back elections, both parties may be affected by provincial and federal election laws.
Under new Federal rules around elections, there are rules forbidding third party "collusion." Provincial political parties are not allowed to use their resources to support federal parties by sharing funds, resources or lists.
"If we are going to have free and fair elections in Manitoba, people need to play by the rules and face serious consequences when they break them," said Lamont.
If Elections Manitoba finds violations against the NDP, it will not be the first time.
After the 1999 election, the Manitoba NDP was forced to pay back $76,000 in improperly claimed rebates after a 3-year investigation into the party's election returns. Campaign salaries of union workers on 13 campaigns were declared as expenses instead of donations in altered documents that resulted in $76,000 in rebates for the NDP.
According to the Free Press at the time, "the party was never charged with violating the election finance act, and there was no public disclosure of the repayment until months after it was made and months after the 2003 election."
At the time, letters from the NDP's provincial secretary, Tom Milne, showed the government pressured Elections Manitoba to reassign the auditor doing the investigation and at one point threatened to blacklist the auditor from future government work.
At the Federal level, 68 NDP MPs were involved in a scheme to hire staff. While the staff were supposed to be on parliament hill, many were actually working in offices rented by the NDP Party during by-elections. The NDP still owe $2.75-million and have yet to repay it.