The riding nomination fight between Conservative MP Eve Adams and Natalia Lishchyna is growing nastier, with Lishchyna giving party officials an estimate of Adams's expenses that suggests she's gone over her spending limit.
Conservative Party officials are examining Adams's nomination expenses as she fights a pitched battle to prove she's qualified to run in the new Ontario riding of Oakville North-Burlington.
Adams was to have submitted a report of her spending to the party, along with a 40-page questionnaire used to determine a candidate's suitability, by last Friday at 5 p.m., according to a letter from party president John Walsh that was provided to CBC News earlier this month.
Douglas Varty, a Lishchyna supporter, has put together a rough estimate of Adams's spending so far in the nomination battle. Some of the numbers are based on the estimated cost of automated calls or flyers that he knows were distributed, which he multiplied at the low end by the number of Conservative Party members in the riding, and at the high end by the number of households in the riding.
Lishchyna's campaign officials also estimate the number of hours Adams's fiancé, Dimitri Soudas, has worked on the campaign. Varty said Lishchyna's campaign manager, John Mykytyshyn, provided him with the estimated number of hours.
Soudas had been the Conservative Party's executive director, and is a former director of communications to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but was fired after the party found he interfered in Adams's race.
CBC News requested a copy of Adams's budget but none was provided.
The budget put together by Lishchyna's campaign alleges Adams is tens of thousands of dollars over-budget with a month left to go in the campaign.
Elections Canada limits nomination campaign spending to 20 per cent of the amount allowed in a general election. In Adams's case, that would be $17,721.66.
Adams told CBC News that she found the estimates humorous, baseless and poorly researched. She said the disparaging comments are regrettable and a sign of desperation.
"We've been labouring and doing the heavy lifting and making sure our numbers are real," Adams told CBC News.
Adams also took to Twitter to deny she has exceeded the spending limits.
In Walsh's letter to Adams, he wrote that she may already have gone over the spending limit for her nomination campaign. The Oakville North-Burlington nomination race officially opened April 10, with a vote set for sometime between May 22 and 24.
The party started reviewing Adams's nomination run after complaints she improperly used information from the party's internal database and was verbally abusive to members of the riding executive.