POLITICS

Dean Del Mastro, Tory MP, Meeting Elections Canada Over Donation Allegations: Report

07/06/2012 06:14 EDT | Updated 09/05/2012 05:12 EDT
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OTTAWA - A published report says a Conservative MP accused of dirty electoral tricks has a meeting with Elections Canada.

The Globe and Mail is reporting Dean Del Mastro has accepted an invitation from Elections Canada to give a recorded statement.

Del Mastro had been trying to set up a meeting with the agency ever since media reports surfaced that he exceeded his spending limit during the 2008 federal election campaign and then tried to cover it up.

There were also reports his family was involved in a donation reimbursement scheme, which Del Mastro says are baseless.

None of the allegations against Del Mastro have been proven in court and no charges have been laid.

The Tory MP from Peterborough, Ont., previously refused to speak to the agency if his statement could be used in court or as part of an investigation.

He complained this week there was no way for him to clear his name.

Del Mastro's lawyer told the Globe that Elections Canada called him on Thursday offering to take "a cautioned audio recorded statement" from the MP.

"Mr. Del Mastro has accepted the invitation to meet with Elections Canada to give a cautioned statement and we are in the process of scheduling a date and time for this meeting,” Jeffrey Ayotte told the newspaper.

Neither Ayotte nor Del Mastro returned requests for comment Friday. A Conservative party spokesman also did not immediately reply to an email.

Elections Canada said it will not confirm or deny investigations or complaints.

The agency is looking into whether Del Mastro, who normally defends the Conservatives against accusations of dirty electoral tricks, exceeded his spending limit and then tried to cover it up.

The matter revolves around a contract for polling and research.

In court documents, Elections Canada claims Del Mastro paid Holinshed Research Group $21,000 out of his personal bank account. But the Peterborough MP's campaign return shows only $1,575 was paid to the company.

The agency alleges Del Mastro "took steps to hide the true nature of the transaction by paying the $21,000 election expense from his personal bank account ... and obtained a false invoice from Holinshed in December 2008 ... which was never paid to Holinshed."

"Dean Del Mastro then submitted this invoice to the campaign and was reimbursed $1,575 ... for a contract which he never paid,'' the court documents say.

Del Mastro admitted this week that he wrote the cheque but said he did not break any rules.

"I followed all rules. I always have. I always will," he said. "All my campaigns are above board. And I stand by those statements 100 per cent."

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