Investigation: How public money flows to Tory coffers

A CBC News investigation has found several post-secondary institutions illegally spent tens of thousands of dollars on provincial Conservative party fundraisers over the past seven years. Through the Freedom of Information Act, CBC News obtained documents that detail how some public money from Athabasca University ended up in Tory party coffers.

Posted: March 21, 2012

The documents: Click the yellow tabs to view notes

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The events

Doc 1: The 2008 Elections Alberta financial disclosure for the Athabasca-Redwater PC Association. Signed by riding president Carol Lund.

Doc 2: Donors to the party include Athabasca University board members Neil Cameron, Brian Curial, Robert Splane and current board chair Barry Walker. Carol Lund is also a donor as is current Athabasca University president Fritz Pannekoek.

Doc 3: Athabasca-Redwater Tory MLA Jeff Johnson invites Athabasca U to his annual fundraiser golf tournament.

Doc 4: Carol Lund, the riding association president for Johnson, sends email to university executive encouraging them to attend for an opportunity to meet Ministers and MLAs. Carol Lund is also Athabasca University’s University Secretary, responsible for its policies, including conflict of interest.

Doc 5: Pat Eagar, the university’s former VP of finance and administration, emails Carol Lund. Eagar says her office has been a Gold sponsor for the Cardinal Classic, the annual golf fundraiser held by Mike Cardinal, who is Johnson’s predecessor as Athabasca-Redwater MLA.

Doc 6: Carol Lund personally approves spending $750 of the university’s public money for a team to attend her riding association’s fundraiser golf tournament.

Doc 7: Eagar and Joy Romero, chair of the university’s board of governors, are registered to golf with an MLA, whose ticket to play is paid by the university.

Doc 8: Troy Tait is the university’s government relations officer. Tait charges to his credit card the $750 fee for a second team to attend the Johnson golf fundraiser. The charge is run through D & L Automotive, an Athabasca company owned, in part, by a riding association executive member. This practice is common among political parties and charities and is legal.

Doc 9: University administrative clerk Crystal Brown asks Tait why an expense for a golf tournament is being put through an auto-parts company. Tait tells Brown that Carol Lund, the riding association president and University secretary, will clear up any confusion.

Doc 10: Athabasca’s Governing Council pays $300 to attend former Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock’s Annual Lobster Boil Fundraiser held by the Edmonton-Whitemud PC Assoc.

Doc 11: Carol Lund approves the $300 expenditure.

Doc 12: Pat Eagar, the university’s vp of finance and administration, sends a memo to president Frits Pannekoek alerting him to the fact that it is a breach for the university to have made political donations.