OTTAWA – The federal Conservative party has removed 1,351 people from its membership rolls following a review sparked by leadership hopeful Kevin O’Leary’s accusation that one of his rivals has been engaging in widespread fraud and vote-rigging.
Those individuals will no longer be eligible to vote in the party’s leadership contest.
After an expedited review, the party says it found the now-cancelled memberships were purchased through two IP addresses and were not paid for by the individual members, contrary to party rules.
The party couldn’t determine which leadership campaign or campaigns were behind the scheme since the memberships were purchased anonymously through the party’s website.
The finding backs up O’Leary’s assertion late Thursday that unnamed backroom organizers were trying to buy the leadership race by using untraceable, pre-paid credit cards to sign up fake members.
Over the last six months, the party says it has received 1,233 pre-paid credit card transactions through its website, roughly half of which have been traced to the two IP addresses.