Update, March 10
Elections BC has asked the RCMP to take over the investigation into B.C.’s unfolding political fundraising scandal. Mounties will be leading the probe into potentially illegal donations by Kinder Morgan and other corporations.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Election officials probe donations linked to Kinder Morgan
Lobbyists, staff gave generously to BC Liberals before pipeline approval
VICTORIA, March 9, 2017 — Officials at Elections BC are reviewing a series of political donations by individuals connected to the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline and oil tanker expansion, after receiving a formal complaint.
“Premier Clark’s decision to approve the Kinder Morgan project was already tainted by political donations,” said Kai Nagata, communications director at Dogwood BC, who initiated the complaint. “The question now is whether any of those donations also broke the law.”
British Columbia is nicknamed the ‘Wild West’ of political fundraising for its notorious lack of any limits on foreign, corporate, union or individual donations. However, it remains illegal to donate with someone else’s money or otherwise conceal the true identity of a donor.
“What this means is if Kinder Morgan reimbursed any of its staff or lobbyists for event tickets, tables at fundraisers or other political contributions, they broke the law,” said Nagata.
According to the Election Act, “An individual or organization who commits an offence […] is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not longer than one year, or both.”
Donations to the BC Liberals from individuals connected to Kinder Morgan include:
- Ian Anderson, President, Kinder Morgan Canada: $7,300
- Gavin Dew, Stakeholder Engagement Specialist: $13,120
- Lexa Hobenshield, External Relations Manager: $3,725
- Stephanie Snider, consulting lobbyist: $1,000
Prior to greenlighting the Trans Mountain expansion, the BC Liberals also accepted at least $771,168 in corporate donations from Alberta-based backers of the project — including Kinder Morgan, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and oil sands producers contracted to ship oil on the new pipeline.
The same group of corporate donors contributed $51,210 to the BC NDP, which opposes the expansion project. Lobbyist Jeffrey Ferrier, who was working for Kinder Morgan as of July 2013, made personal donations to the BC NDP between 2013 and 2015 totalling $2,070.
“I’m glad investigators are taking potential violations seriously,” said Nagata. “But the larger issue is the unlimited corporate donations and foreign money in B.C. This should all be illegal. Unfortunately our politicians are fighting to keep the system the way it is.”
Dogwood is a citizen engagement group dedicated to helping British Columbians reclaim power over their environment and democracy. Its #BanBigMoney campaign calls for legislation banning corporate, union and out-of-province donations, along with a cap on individual donations.
Since 2007, Dogwood has also fought the expansion of crude oil tanker traffic on the B.C. coast.
For more information:
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