Lali named in NDP slush fund scandal
Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali is once again in hot water over a scheme that saw money for local constituents funnelled to a central partisan slush fund.
A Liberal press release from March 13 stated a report from the Auditor General found “funds accruing to this account were being used for partisan purposes and not for goods or services consistent with the original purpose of the constituency office.”
“The concern is that money that was targeted for constituency offices was sent to Victoria and put into a slush fund for the NDP to use for items that weren’t local,” said Jackie Tegart, B.C. Liberal Party candidate for Fraser-Nicola. “My concern, of course, is that the dollars that go into the constituency office are dollars that are targeted to service the constituency and the people within it. I don’t think it’s appropriate to send money to Victoria for other purposes.”
The alleged scheme involved over $460,000 from NDP constituency offices across British Columbia being diverted to conduct political outreach for the B.C. NDP.
Tegart said the NDP took $200 from each of 36 NDP MLAs per month and gathered it in Victoria.
“So those dollars weren’t available to deal with local issues, which is what the purpose of the constituency fund is,” she said. “The Auditor General indicated that there were concerns about that and whether that was an appropriate use of the money. There’s certainly been a call for an investigation into whether that’s an appropriate use of targeted dollars for constituencies. The bottom line is you’re given a certain amount of money to serve the people within the area you’re elected. We really believe that money should stay in the local constituency and that’s not what’s happening, obviously.”
Calls to Harry Lali’s office werer not returned as of press time.