By Edward Keenan
The problem is that candidates are forbidden from taking loans from
anyone except banks and other recognized lending institutions. Even
candidates themselves aren’t allowed to loan their campaigns money.
[Ford's family business loaned Rob Ford's campaign about $77,000]
Now, the Municipal Elections Act specifically says that “events or
activities that are organized for such purposes as promoting public
awareness of a candidate and at which the soliciting of contributions is
incidental” do not qualify as fundraisers.
[Rob Ford had a launch party, primarily aimed at raising awareness (not fund raising), and claimed it as a fundraiser.]
The rules prohibit “incurring expenses” before you’re registered.
[Rob Ford had campaign signs and materials printed before he registered as a candidate.]
It’s possible, of course, that Ford’s campaign wasn’t intentionally
trying to get around the rules. Even though accountant Douglas
Colbourne, who chairs the Compliance Audit Committee, says he’s “never
seen a vehicle such as this used” when looking at the relationship
between the Ford family business and the Ford campaign, it’s possible
this isn’t a calculated attempt to circumvent the intention of the
law—it could be incompetence or misunderstanding. But which is the more
disturbing proposition for those who voted for Ford based on his
no-bullshit reputation and his promise to clean up the city’s finances:
Did he craftily try to get around the rules that ensure fair elections,
or did his financial advisers not understand those rules? And how does
either of those conclusions square with the concept of “respect for
Of course, none of the allegations have been proven. The auditor’s
investigation will shed light on what happened, and it’s entirely
possible there’s an innocent explanation. But we should all start asking
a few more questions.