By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, September 28, 2013
Dean Del Mastro quits Tory caucus after Election Act charges
Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has quit the party’s caucus after he and a campaign staffer were charged with intentionally breaking campaign rules during the 2008 federal election, he said in a statement Thursday.
Elections Canada alleges Del Mastro, who represents the Ontario riding of Peterborough in the House of Commons, intentionally overspent his 2008 campaign limit and tried to cover it up by reporting a $21,000 expense as $1,575.
It also alleges he contributed too much money to his campaign – $21,000, nearly $19,000 over the individual candidate contribution limit.
Del Mastro said he still intends to support the government’s economic agenda, but has told caucus leadership that he is stepping out until the matter is resolved.
“Today I learned that Elections Canada laid charges against me pertaining to the 2008 General Election. As I have consistently stated in the past, I entirely reject these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to defend myself in court,” Del Mastro said in the statement.
Del Mastro’s first court date is set for Nov. 7 in Peterborough, said a spokeswoman for the Director of Public Prosecutions, which handles the prosecution of charges under the Elections Act.
Del Mastro and Richard McCarthy are charged with:
• Incurring election expenses in an amount more than the election expenses limit.
• Providing the chief electoral officer an electoral campaign return that omitted to report a contribution of $21,000, omitted to report an election expense of $21,000 and instead reported an election expense of $1,575, and in so doing provided information that each knew or ought reasonably to have known was false or misleading.
• Providing to the chief electoral officer an electoral campaign return that omitted to report a contribution of $21,000, omitted to report an election expense of $21,000 and instead reported an election expense of $1,575, and in so doing knowingly provided a document that did not substantially set out the information required.
Del Mastro faces a separate charge of wilfully exceeding the contribution limit for a candidate in his own election campaign. (Source: CBC News)