Kelowna mayoralty candidate may have broken new campaign funding laws - InfoNews

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Kelowna mayoralty candidate may have broken new campaign funding laws

Kelowna mayoral candidate Bobby Kennedy.
February 07, 2019 - 10:04 AM

KELOWNA - A candidate for mayor in last fall's municipal election may have run afoul of municipal campaign finance by over-contributing to his own campaign.

Bobby Kennedy blew way past election contribution limits set for the first time just before the election. They are so new, Elections B.C. appears to be figuring out what to do about it. 

On his campaign disclosure statement, released by Elections B.C. yesterday, Feb. 5, he listed only four contributors to his $14,502.81 in total expenses, three of them together totalled roughly $600. The other donation, making up the rest of the cost of his campaign of $13,902.81 was donated by himself. The problem is, as a candidate he was only allowed to contribute $2,400 to his campaign in 2018. He’s allowed to make another contribution of $1,200 this year.

When asked how Elections B.C. would respond, a spokesperson said they couldn't comment on specific disclosure statements. 

“Our objective is to gain compliance through education, particularly given that these are new rules,” Rebecca Penz from Elections B.C. told iNFOnews.ca.

Contribution limits were new for the 2018 municipal elections. 

Elections B.C. staff still have to review all the claims, a process that Penz estimates will take about seven months given that there are about 3,000 statements to review.

The penalty for over-contributing is covered under Section 28 of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. Penz cannot speak to a specific case but did provide some explanation on how this might unfold.

“If a candidate over-contributes to their own campaign, the prohibited amount must be returned to the candidate,” Penz wrote in an email. “If the eligible campaign contributions don’t cover the value of the expenses, the candidate can: contribute up to $1,200 in 2019 or (continue to) fundraise to cover the shortfall."

That seems to mean he would still owe about $10,300. That could mean that Kennedy will have to pay B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer the amount he can’t raise from donors which, at this point, sits at about $10,300.

Kennedy did not return a phone message from iNFOnews.ca today. Further calls went to a message saying his voice mail is full.


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