A group calling itself Fair Elections Toronto has filed eight compliance audit requests on candidates who ran in the 2010 municipal election, four of whom are sitting councillors. Alleging a variety of offenses related to bending fund-raising rules and accepting corporate or union donations, the citizen group is seeking to hold politicians to account for their actions, raise awareness of the culture of non-compliance with municipal election finance laws, and improve the system by reforming those laws.
The candidates who are alleged to have broken election laws are: Jon Burnside (Ward 26, Don Valley West), Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), Abdi Hashised (Ward 11, York South-Weston), Peter Li Preti (Ward 8, York West), Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West), Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10), Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre) and Peter Youngren (Ward 34, Don Valley East).
“Holding politicians accountable to election laws is a responsibility that has unfortunately been downloaded to the citizenry,” said Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, Fair Elections Toronto spokesperson, and one of five people who filed the eight applications. “With the limited resources we have, we targeted all of the councillors we believe broke the law to gain a material advantage over their opponents. We also requested audits of all candidates we allege accepted corporate or union donations.”
“Election finance laws are a vital part of our democracy. We want to give them some real teeth.”
Among the most serious allegations in the eight audit applications:
- Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti exceeded his spending limit by more than 50% by improperly deeming an unnamed and undated event with a cost of more than $17,000 a fund-raising function, as defined in law.
- Based on information from his own filings, it is alleged that former councillor Peter Li Preti accepted 32 corporate donations cumulatively worth more than $14,000.
- Councillor Michael Thompson exceeded his spending limit by more than 33% as a result of claiming a $15,000 phone solicitation campaign was a fund-raising function, as defined in law, and improperly stated that it occurred on one specific date when in fact it was a six-month campaign.
Applications were filed by: Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler (Burnside, Hashised, Li Preti and Youngren), Robert Janiga (Ford), Justin Stasyshyn (Thompson), Rami Tabello (Pasternak) and Jayme Turney (Mammoliti).