EDMONTON - Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel, accused by the Opposition Wildrose of breaking campaign finance rules, says he is sorry and will pay the money back — if he is at fault.
"I tried to be very careful with my expenses over the nine years as mayor," Mandel told reporters Tuesday.
"If there was any error, we'll apologize for it and we'll correct it."
A reporter asked, "You'll be paying the money back then?"
Mandel replied, "Sure, yeah, yes, yes, yeah."
Earlier Tuesday, the Wildrose party released recent expense documents from Mandel's time as mayor of Edmonton.
The documents show Mandel charged taxpayers $225 to attend a governing Progressive Conservative party fundraiser in 2010.
The documents also show that he accepted an improper $600 donation from the publicly funded Mazankowski Heart Institute in 2012.
Both transactions would violate provincial campaign fundraising laws.
Wildrose member Kerry Towle says it doesn't bode well if Mandel is fuzzy on campaign fundraising rules, given he's now in charge of a multibillion-dollar health department.
"I would find it very hard to believe that in 2010, the mayor of one of the largest cities in Alberta didn't know that he couldn't take a donation from Alberta Health Services, and didn't know that he couldn't make a donation to a political party and then charge it back to taxpayers," said Towle.
"That brings his integrity into question."
Last month, Mandel was appointed by Premier Jim Prentice to be the province's new health minister.
Mandel is running in Edmonton-Whitemud in an Oct. 27 byelection to gain a seat in the legislature.
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