Fines, jail time await those convicted of taking illegal donations
(Written Sept. 9 for Town Crier.)
The stakes are high for both a candidate who may accept, and a corporation or union that may give an illegal campaign donation.
The Municipal Elections Act states the difference between the amount paid for a good or service and market value is considered a contribution and sincedonations from trade unions and corporations are banned in Toronto, paying anything less than market value for a good or service from a corporation or a union would be considered a breach of the act.
Individuals found guilty under the act could be fined up to $25,000 and if they knowingly contravened the act also face six months in jail. A corporation can be fined up to $50,000.
However, no charges can be laid during the election period.
The earliest an action could take place would be in March 2011 after the candidates file their campaign expenses with the city. If an elector has reason to believe that a candidate did not comply with the election rules they can ask the city for a compliance audit.
If that happens, it would go to the three-member Compliance Audit Committee to decide if an audit is warranted. If they do the an outside auditor would be hired to write a report and the committee would then decide whether to lay information charges and take the matter to court.
— Source Toronto Election Services