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Crowd funding websites weren't on Elections B.C. radar

October 16, 2014 - 7:28 PM

KELOWNA – When the B.C. Government introduced new regulations covering municipal election campaign donations in May it appears they didn’t take into consideration the latest, greatest way to raise money—crowd funding.

Many candidates taking part in the civic election campaigns across the province have turned to crowd funding websites like gofundme.com or kickstarter.com.

Sean Upshaw and Mike McLoughlin with the new civic party Prosper Kelowna are raising cash on-line to fund their efforts to get elected to city council, as is candidate Ryan Donn as are Kamloops candidates Coun. Donovan Cavers and Peter Kerek.

“It’s the responsibility of those candidates and of the campaign organizations and third party sponsors,” Elections B.C. spokesperson Don Main says. “If that’s the way they are collecting money, they are responsible and bound to make sure they have that information.”

While there is nothing in the new Local Elections Campaign Financing Act or the accompanying guide that specifically mentions crowd funding, it’s clear who has the responsibility to find out about donors.

“The agents for the candidates have to disclose names of participants who contribute $100 or more,” he says.

Main says Elections B.C. will be looking at the different crowd funding sites to, as he puts it, “see what they’re doing.”

He points out his organization didn’t create the legislation, it is their responsibility to administer it.

When asked if this issue was a surprise for Elections B.C. Main replied: “It’s nothing we’ve seen before.”

There is a way around the anonymous donor issue, at least with gofundme.com. While contributors remain anonymous on the webpage, those collecting the donations can access the donors names and addresses, according to gofundme.com.

He wouldn't speculate on the impact crowd funding websites will have on the next B.C. election, but says: “It’s something that certainly could have an effect at the provincial level.”

To contact a reporter for this story email halexander@infonews.ca. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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