Fifteen months ago, Stephen Harper's Parliamentary Secretary and robocalls pointman Dean Del Mastro made an unscheduled surprise visit to CBC's Power and Politics panel to defend himself against a breaking McMaher story that he was being investigated by Elections Canada for allegedly incurring costs that breached the spending limit for his 2008 election campaign. EC laid charges against him yesterday.
Stephen Maher was on that June 2012 panel and this is a rare opportunity to hear DM using his indoor voice.
Excerpted from above :
Maher: If you look at the campaign statements, the expence statements, there's a record of $1500 going to this company Holinshed but not a record of $21,000 and I don't know if you've had a chance yet to look back and see what that $21,000 was for.
Del Mastro : They undertook a small amount of work during the campaign, during the actual campaign writ, that's reflected in that campaign expenditure. They did also undertake some work at various times both for, well, for my [riding]association, so they would be on separate statements. As you know, expenditures incurred during a writ period are reflected in the election return, and campaign, er, expenses that are incurred outside of a writ period for an association are reflected on the association's files.Campaign expenses outside of the writ?
Jennifer Ditchburn : "Was there a total amount of $21,000 that was paid to this particular company over a period of time?
DDM : There was a relationship for services that had been completed by this company for various services that they had done, both for my MP office - at one point I had a very small contract with them for that for the association which is not me, this is the Conservative association - and a small contract that was undertaken for my 2008 campaign. Those were paid. There is no question as to whether or not they were paid - in fact Mr Hall [Holinshed] indicated that in his filing on a separate matter.
JD : So you're saying that the financial records will ultimately reveal that although you paid out of your pocket, all of that $21,000 was paid back to you at certain points. [clever girl.]
DM : I've always been reimbursed, whether it's by the campaign or by the association for any expenditures I've incurred.What DM is pushing here is that the $21,000 cheque covers both work done during and outside the writ period for both himself and the riding association, so he's not actually gone over the election spending limit.
However from the McMaher story the same day :
After the election, Hall [of Holinshed] claimed, Del Mastro asked him to do $1,500 of additional work using some of the election data and to backdate the invoice to the election period.And as Stephen Maher pointed out on CTV's PowerPlay yesterday :
Hall later checked Elections Canada filings and found that the Del Mastro campaign had declared only the $1,500 payment for the extra Holinshed work — a payment Hall said he never received — and not the $21,000 of work he performed during the election.
"One of the key documents is a piece of paper which purports to be paperwork from Holinshed to Del Mastro saying 'oh we've received this payment and returned it to you' - which appears to bear the signature not of someone from Holinshed but of someone from Mr. Del Mastro's campaign. This is what the investigator called a false document and this is what makes it serious."A look at the GeoVote and GOTV work Frank Hall at Holinshed possibly did for Del Mastro in 2008 here.
GeoVote was an interactive voter-tracking system like the Cons CIMS, pinpointing how voters voted in each house in a riding on a map. Despite receiving a six-figure Economic Action Plan grant to develop the project in 2009/10, Holinshed disappeared in 2011.
Three months before his 2012 Power and Politics appearance, Del Mastro stood 16 times over two days in the House of Commons to read the same identical talking points off a script about election fraud allegations against the Cons being "baseless smears".
The sad thing is he had to read them off the script every single time, only allowing himself very minor variations :
P.S. What a complete prat Norquay is in the P&P segment at top - he's absolutely outraged that an investigative journalist would actually do his job.