NDP suggests Liberal candidate may have broken federal election rules

The Yukon Liberal candidate who’s already the focus of an RCMP investigation over her interpretation of the Yukon’s Elections Act may have also broken the federal election rules, according to the NDP.

The Yukon Liberal candidate who’s already the focus of an RCMP investigation over her interpretation of the Yukon’s Elections Act may have also broken the federal election rules, according to the NDP.

The Yukon opposition party is accusing Tamara Goeppel of incorrectly accepting donations from businesses when she ran for the federal Liberal nomination in 2014. She lost that bid to Larry Bagnell, who eventually went on to become Yukon’s MP.

“If you’re going to run for office, we believe that you need to know the rules and people need to trust your integrity,” said NDP spokesperson Denise MacDonald yesterday.

Finance campaign documents are public on the Elections Canada website. Goeppel’s say her campaign was given nearly $7,900 in donations.

According to the documents, she personally donated $2,245.88 to her own campaign. The same paper lists a $1,200 donation from her business, Main Steele Development. A Yukon promotional sales company also donated about $800 worth of goods.

As of 2007, the Canada Elections Act says no one other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident “shall make a contribution to a registered party, a registered association, a nomination contestant, a candidate or a leadership contestant.”

Elections Canada won’t comment on whether all of Goeppel’s contributions were above board. Spokesperson Melanie Wise said just because documents are online doesn’t mean they’ve been audited by elections officials. Not every campaign gets an audit.

“I can confirm that the return of nomination contestant Tamara Goeppel has not yet been reviewed,” she said.

Wise did confirm “there are no exceptions to the contribution rules (regarding) corporations.”

The NDP is suggesting Goeppel took money from her business as a way of getting more cash for her campaign.

In 2014, Canadian law said nominees could contribute a maximum of $2,500 to their own campaign. With Goeppel’s personal contribution and the one from her business, she is over the cap by about $1,000.

It doesn’t appear her campaign actually spent all its money.

Expense documents — also posted online — suggest the campaign would have had about $430 left in the bank when all was said and done.

In an email to the News, Goeppel said she recalls any money remaining being transferred to Bagnell’s campaign in Ottawa.

“As you might appreciate, this took place over two years (ago) and I do not have the details in my memory. I do recall that I gave all my paperwork regarding my nomination campaign to my accountant,” she said.

“The financial report was filed promptly with Ottawa and accepted. I have had no correspondence in reference to my nomination campaign since.”

Goeppel said she was “not comfortable making any further public statement on this matter without having the proper consultation with my past financial officer and a review of our financial report.”

Yukon Liberal campaign chair Laura Cabott said the territorial campaign couldn’t answer questions about Goeppel’s federal run.

“We are separate, the territorial Liberals and the federal, so we wouldn’t know anything about 2014 federal contributions.”

The NDP’s allegations come at a time when Goeppel’s run in Whitehorse Centre has already come under fire. The RCMP is investigating whether she broke Yukon election rules by helping homeless people fill out proxy ballots.

NDP Leader Liz Hanson and Goeppel are competing in the same riding.

Hanson has already called for Goeppel to withdraw from the race.

“It’s kind of a sense of either she’s not paying attention to the rules or she doesn’t care about them,” Macdonald said.

Goeppel is questioning the NDP’s motivation.

She said she’s disappointed by the unreasonably short amount of time she’s been given to respond to a question about something that happened two years ago, and she wonders about “the motivation considering the current election circumstance.”

Yukoners go to the polls on Monday.

Contact Ashley Joannou ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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