"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hedging their bets

It is an interesting exercise to cross-reference Liberal leader Dwight Ball's leadership finance disclosure against the statutory financial disclosures of provincial political parties and candidates.

Ball receieved donations from a total of 106 different corporate donors, including the separately-accounted golf tournament. They include both large and small business donors, as separate from donations made by individuals (or by the Town of Deer Lake.)

Of the 106, 70 show up on past party or candidate donor lists as published by Elections Newfoundland and Labrador between 1996 and 2011, both years inclusive. For no obviously good reason, with just days to go before 2014, the 2012 political finance disclosures have still not been, um, disclosed.

Those 70 companies have between them made 974 political contributions to parties or candidates over the years, with the lion's share of the total going to either the PC Party or individual PC election and by-election candidates:

Of the 70 companies, thirteen have only ever given to Liberal party or candidates before, and thirteen have only ever given to the PC party or candidates.

Now, it is well-established that corporate Support for Democracy™ in Newfoundland and Labrador, and elsewhere, where it is still legal, tends to follow the party that is in power. Limiting ourselves, then, to the period from 2004 to 2011 inclusive, when the provincial PCs have been in power and up for re-election, the picture shifts somewhat.

Between 2004, the first full year of the PC era, and 2011, the most recent year for which stats have been published by the woefully inadequate elections office, 60 of Dwight Ball's corporate donors made contributions to provincial parties or candidates. The 60 companies between them made 508 political contributions, with an even larger majority of the cash going to the incumbent Tories:

Of those 60 companies, nine had dyed-in-the-wool Liberal links, having only ever given to the Liberal party or candidates since 2004. But nineteen of the 60 — nearly a third of the total — have only made reportable contributions to the PC party or its candidates while Danny Williams or Kathy Dunderdale have been Premier.

There is no surer sign of political bets being hedged, than when Support for Democracy™ starts to treat the opposition party with something resembling an even financial hand. And these figures are based only on what the Captains of Industry gave to the Ball campaign. The other candidates have not made similar voluntary disclosures.

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