Monday, March 07, 2011

In & out scandal: Getting a leg up to the tune of $800,000

In addition to the four senior Conservative party officials facing Elections Act charges for the in and out scandal, including two Conservative Senators, and the overspending by the national party in the 2006 election of $1.3 million...there's another aspect of this scandal that is now getting some attention: "In-and-out worth $100,000 in payouts."

The Conservatives claimed, in total, $800,000 from the taxpayers as reimbursements on the shifting dollars down from the national party to the 67 local candidates who participated in the in and out scheme. Of this $800,000, that they're still fighting for, the above CBC report notes that $100,000 went out the door to some of the Conservative ridings before the in and out scheme was discovered by Elections Canada.

What is the significance of all this? It means that a cash poor Conservative riding in 2006 who received money from the national party in the in and out scheme, just for a few hours one afternoon and that had nothing to do with the local campaign, claimed a rebate on that money from the Canadian taxpayer.

In dollars, let's take a hypothetical. Say a local candidate, "Conservative Steven" raised just $25,000 in their riding for a local campaign in 2006. And spent just that amount on local expenses. Then say the national party dumped in $40,000 through the in and out transfer to the local riding. The $40,000 sat in the local account for just a few hours. Or maybe a day. Then it was transferred back up to the national level in the form of purchasing national ads. Local "Conservative Steven" nevertheless now claims from the taxpayer a 60% refund not on the $25,000 that was truly raised by him at the local level for their local campaign. Local "Conservative Steven" now claims from the taxpayer a 60% refund on $65,000. Meaning that instead of receiving the proper refund of $15,000, the Conservative candidate now gets $39,000 from the taxpayers. All because the national party transferred moneys in and out for a few hours one afternoon.

That was part of the scheme. All the better to advantage Conservative candidates in traditionally Conservative poor ridings for the 2008 election.

And that is a key insight as to how the Conservatives view the taxpayers of Canada. Getting a leg up for their electoral fortunes...on our backs.

Elsewhere on this theme today, see this Globe piece, putting the recent taxpayer funded Economic Action Plan advertising at $20 million.