NDP MP Pat Martin faces some criticism over his legal defence fund.
Martin got into some trouble last year when he accused Edmonton company RackNine of being behind thousands of phone calls misdirecting voters to phony polling stations. In response, RackNine initially claimed $5 million in damages. Martin settled out-of-court with RackNine, but he is barred from revealing the details of the settlement as part of the deal. He did say, however, that he had to take out a loan to cover the costs and that his supporters were still soliciting donations to his legal defence fund. Martin has to report all donations to the ethics commissioner regardless of the size of the donation and the ethics commissioner must publicly disclose any donation over $500.
Conservative MP Erin O’Toole sent a letter to Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson late Friday asking that she investigate a possible conflict of interest related to the legal fund. He expressed concern over a $10,000 donation from a union, the way the fund is being administered, and the way the legal defence fund website is set up to solicit donations. As unions are prohibited from making political contributions, he questioned the appropriateness of these donations in that they may politically influence Martin. He “would suggest the highly unusual structure and administration of the fund should at least attract the same degree of transparency that would be applied to political donations.”
Martin has dismissed the complaint as a publicity stunt by a “rookie MP” trying to “make a name for himself.”
For the full article from The Vancouver Sun: