Dwight Ball promises open government despite secret spending
No disclosure laws for Liberal leadership spending
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball promises to run an open and transparent government if he wins the next Newfoundland and Labrador election, after he won a leadership race in which all the fundraising and spending happened in secret.
Somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000, I guess.- Dwight Ball, Liberal leader
Ball revealed on Monday that he spent several hundred thousand dollars on his campaign.
"I'm saying right now it is over $200,000," said Ball.
"Somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000, I guess."
Ball added that about $200,000 came out of his own pocket.
Front runners in the race all spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their campaigns, some of it out of pocket, some of it raised from donors, but none of it was required to be disclosed.
There is no provincial law requiring that candidates disclose campaign spending details, nor is there a cap on campaign spending.
"A Liberal government will be open and will be accountable," said Ball in his victory speech at the Liberal leadership convention on Sunday.
"We will repeal Bill 29 and clean the dust of secrecy from government."
Bill 29, introduced by the provincial Cabinet under Premier Kathy Dunderdale in 2012, gives cabinet and the government increased powers in determining what information it can withhold from public view.
"You're right, with openness and transparency candidates should do that," admitted Ball on Monday, about disclosing campaign expenses he and the other Liberal leadership candidates incurred.
He said he would provide at least partial disclosure of his campaign expenses. However, many of Ball's supporters donated funds under the assumption the the donations were private.
Ball said, at minimum, he will make public the amounts of each individual donation he received, and the overall total he spent.
Ball said he will make recommendations to the Liberal party for future races to require financial disclosure and to have a cap on how much each candidate can spend.