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The Conservative Party of Canada says it made a mistake in failing to give notice of a fundraiser held by disqualified leadership contestant Patrick Brown.
Spokeswoman Sarah Fischer said Thursday the party "mistakenly" did not post details of the $1,700-per-ticket event Brown held last week on its website, which is required by Elections Canada.
Brown, who is currently mayor of Brampton, Ont., held the fundraiser to help pay down the campaign debt he accumulated during last year's leadership bid.
"When the error was realized, the Conservative party self-reported this oversight to Elections Canada and is working to address this matter. The party has notified the Brown campaign of the mistake," Fischer said in a written statement.
The party stunned many last July when it ousted Brown from the race over allegations he broke the rules and possibly the Canada Elections Act. Brown denies any wrongdoing and was later informed by the party he would be losing the $100,000 compliance deposit he paid to enter.
His disqualification makes paying down campaign debt more complicated. The Conservative party has said it is not accepting donations to his campaign, citing internal rules that prevent it from doing so for candidates who did not meet the leadership contest criteria.
What that has meant for Brown, according to his campaign manager John Mykytyshyn, is that his campaign has set up an account in the name of its official agent to collect donations. Those donations are ineligible for the federal tax credit for political contributions.
Elections Canada rules for fundraisers hosted by leadership contestants, political parties and their affiliated entities require the party to post details of a coming event on its website and notify the agency.
Those 2018 guidelines were ushered in through a law the Liberal government introduced. At the time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been under pressure to end the practice of so-called cash-for-access political fundraisers, where wealthy donors could rub shoulders with Trudeau and cabinet ministers behind closed doors.
Conservative party admits error in failing to give notice of @patrickbrownont #fundraiser. #CDNPoli #CPC
Trudeau had himself been in the hot seat for having attended exclusive fundraisers in private homes, where wealthy individuals paid the maximum donation amount to attend.
Under the current rules, events that meet a certain set of criteria must be disclosed publicly along with the guest list of those who attended. The criteria include that at least one person paid or contributed over $200 to attend, or to have a guest attend.
Elections Canada confirmed it only received notice of Brown's fundraiser on Wednesday, six days after it happened.
A spokesman said the agency will review the notice and decide on the next steps.
According to its own rules, a political party failing to provide an event notice and tell Elections Canada about a fundraiser five days in advance could mean contributions have to be returned.
On Thursday, Mykytyshyn said he believes the party is dealing with the matter.
"I have full confidence that the party will do the right thing to work it out with Elections Canada and rectify its mistake."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2023.