Campaign fundraising for B.C.’s upcoming election is going international as a Richmond man – now living in the states – is asking facebook friends world-wide to donate to the NDP.
Eugene Tseng took to Facebook to make the plea, saying he’s asking friends inspired by Saturday’s women’s marches to support others who share “Democratic values.”
“They are aware of the march and the post was just to simply encourage those who are aware of the issue to support these wonderful candidates,” he says.
Tseng wrote “the provincial election allows foreign donations. Crazy right?”
That, because international donations to American candidates are strictly prohibited under U.S. law.
“I’ve known the candidates for sometime now and – [am] obviously very supportive of their cause,” he says.
Elections BC says it does allow the practice, and only tracks names of donors, not where they are from.
Loose laws in the spotlight
An NDP spokesperson says with individual contributions funding their party and the Premier “in the pocket of billionaires,” a post like this isn’t a surprise.
Last year the Liberals raised $12.3-million with nearly $8-million coming from corporations. The NDP amounts will be released next month.
All major B.C. parties accept foreign donations.
B.C.’s loose campaign finance laws have drawn increasing scrutiny over the past year, most recently after being highlighted as the “Wild West of Political Cash” by the New York Times.
Along with permitting donations from outside of the country, B.C.’s laws put no cap on the size of donations, or who is making them.
Last week NDP leader John Horgan reiterated his plan to ban corporate and union donations if elected, but was mum on the issue of foreign donations.
The BC Liberals, meanwhile, say their new model of real-time donation reporting, in which contributions are posted online every two weeks, is the best way to bring transparency to party fundraising.
On Friday, Premier Christy Clark said she would stop taking a $50,000 salary top-up paid by the B.C. Liberal Party, awarded for her work, in part, attending pricey fundraisers, calling it a “distraction.”
Those events have been criticized as cash-for-access meet and greets, however last year the province’s conflict of interest commissioner cleared both the premier’s attendance at them and her stipend.
That ruling is now being challenged in B.C. Supreme Court over allegations the commissioner himself, who’s son works for the premier, is in conflict.
The NDP, too, have taken fire for big money donations – including NDP Leader John Horgan’s attendance at a $10,000 a plate fundraiser with the resource industry.
With files from Simon Little