Former VKP leadership contestant Jeff Callaway will agree to never run for office again if tens of thousands of dollars in fines are removed, his lawyer said in court on Friday.
Hardeep Sangha, Callaway’s representative, made the comment during a court proceeding on a review of a number of fines totaling $70,000 for various campaign finance irregularities. He said Callaway incurred huge legal fees and suffered reputational damage in connection with the fines, and that he lost his job in the aftermath.
Sangha said Callaway had never been reprimanded before, despite his long history in Alberta politics, and that he would not run for public office again.
“The applicant is prepared by his counsel, he says, and this is something that is before he enters into a business, that he will not participate or will not have the ability to be able to run for office,” Sangha said. .
The $70,000 fines stem from allegations that Callaway and an associate conspired to circumvent campaign finance rules during his UCP leadership campaign in 2017. He has since been accused of being a “kamikaze” candidate in 2017, running his own tried for the party leadership. before dropping out in an attempt to boost eventual winner Jason Kenney’s campaign over Brian Jean. Several other people were fined in connection with Callaway’s campaign. Kenney denied any involvement.
Sangha said Friday that Callaway was subject to some of the largest possible fines. He also took exception to the terms “kamikaze” and “dark horse” candidate used by the election commissioner.
Sangha also argued that Callaway did not have enough time to respond to all the allegations leveled against him by the Election Commissioner.
Paula Hale, counsel for the election commissioner’s office, said their role was not adversarial in the proceedings, but was to represent the office that charged the felonies against Callaway. She said that while $70,000 is a relatively large amount for an individual to pay, she pointed out that it is a number of fines that have run up to that amount.
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“There was nothing in place at the time that would suggest to Mr. Callaway that he was not at risk of significant fines,” Hale said. “Nowhere along this road has anyone, for example, given Mr. Callaway said he was just going to, you know, the worst-case scenario wasn’t $2,000.”
Hale said that while publishing notices that an individual has been fined or reprimanded would cause reputational damage, it is the election commissioners’ duty to do so to allow for transparency.
It is expected that a written decision will be issued in the case.