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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 30, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta WcdnMday, October 99, 1974-TH E LETHMIDGE HERALD-If Loophole-ridden election expenses law to be rewritten OTTAWA (CP) The gov- ernment and opposition par- ties say they are preparing to rewrite large sections of the loophole-ridden Election Ex- penses Act before it is tested in an actual vote. They say the new law, with its election spending limits and subsidies for campaign costs, gives the unscrupulous an open invitation to exploit the government, the other parties and the voters. An all-party committee, al- ready has prepared 32 amend- ments to the legislation and party spokesmen say more proposed changes are on the way. John Reid, parliamentary secretary to Government House Leader Mitchell Sharp, says the bulk of these are. technical housekeeping amendments. But others were aimed at tightening the controversial disclosure pro- visions which require parties and candidates to name contributors and detail gifts exceeding There is pressure from some 'quarters in-the federal Liberal party to block the New Democratic Party tactic of using the new law to raise tax deductible money for provin- cial and municipal party operations. But so far said to be no decision to re- quire federal parties to split themselves from their provin- cial wings. The act was produced by all- party consensus and came into effect Aug. 1, too late for the July 8 general election. It limits election spending by parties and candidates, re- quires parties to name official agents to receive and publicly account-for campaign contributions, demands full disclosure of gifts exceeding provides some govern- ment subsidies of campaign costs, limits election adver- tising, and allows up to in tax deductions for campaign contributors. The national NDP was criti- cized by the other parties when it began using the new law to help finance provincial byelection campaigns and other non-federal activities. This can be done by channell- ing contributions through the national party to provincial organizations, allowing donors to obtain federal tax deductions on their gifts. A donation qualifies for 'a tax the donor does not have to reveal his name. Politicians examining the bill say there are other loopholes. National political parties can effectively mask the source of campaign funds by reversing the NDP procedure and collecting contributions through their provincial organizations. The contributions then would appear on the required annual and post-election audited statements as money transfers from provincial organizations. Mr. Reid, says the com- mittee has not looked at this provision but likely will study it. Similarly, individual candi- dates can have so-called bag- men do their fund raising and turn the money over to a le- gally-designated official agent In this way money can' be collected from many sources by one individual who is the only one named as a campaign contributor. Amendments are planned to bar this possibility, says Mr. Reid. Parties also are free to raise large amounts of cash in the U.S. and elsewhere by appealing to foreign cor- porations for gifts. No changes to this provision are planned. A strong critic of the new legislation is Ontario Senator John Godfrey, one of the chief Liberal fund raisers, who says the law contains a ridiculous number of flaws. He says there is nothing to stop the worst kind of conniving and trickery among the un- scrupulous. For example, be says, a flight-oiling donor can contribute to a party and dun the government for in tax rebates by having four different persons each contribute of the amount. In that way each qualifies for the maximum tax rebate paid for all donations exceeding Otherwise, the contributor wouM receive only a rebate on his Finn action should be taken to deter the NDP, and possibly other parties, from cycling money through federal head- quarters to provincial organ- izations, lie says. M f f I H 14 I DCUBtC- HEADED tonight "Winning" Spine-tingling automobile racing action, combined with a tender love story that develops into a sizzling romantic triangle. Don't miss this action-packed movie tonight. f Starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Robert Wagner. "V "Bob, and Alice" A fresh, tongue-in-cheek comedy that pokes fun at today's morality. "Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice." Starring Natalie Wood, Robert Gulp, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon. Channel 13 Cabte4 ;