Ford won't face legal action over campaign expenses
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sits next to his brother Doug Ford during an audit hearing into his 2010 campaign finances at city hall in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. (Byron Auburn / CTV Toronto)
Chris Kitching, CP24.com
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 8:07AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 25, 2013 5:19PM EST
Toronto's mayor will not face legal action for exceeding his 2010 municipal election campaign spending limit, a three-person committee decided Monday.
The city’s compliance audit committee was examining a forensic audit that discovered “apparent contraventions” of the Municipal Elections Act by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
According to the third-party audit, Ford exceeded the campaign spending limit by $40,168, improperly borrowed about $77,000 from his family business, and accepted donations above the allowable limit.
In his final remarks Monday, Ford’s lawyer Tom Barlow said that while mistakes had been made, there was a good-faith attempt made by his client to follow the rules.
“The perfect should not be permitted to be the enemy of the good,” he said.
Barlow said that all campaign contributions had been recorded, and that the issue of overspending really amounted to the classification of events Ford had attended as a guest rather than campaign events.
Barlow also argued that the idea that Ford got an advantage over other candidates was inaccurate, as the mayor’s campaign did not begin until two months after some of the other candidates.
The committee had been debating whether to pursue non-criminal charges under the Municipal Elections Act.
Politicians who are found guilty usually face a fine as punishment, but could also be removed from office or banned from running in the next election, although those penalties are rare.
Ford is the second city council member to appear before the compliance audit committee in February.
Earlier this month, the committee recommended legal proceedings against city Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti after an independent audit found he didn’t follow campaign rules during the 2010 municipal election.
Mammoliti overspent by $12,000, failed to report campaign expenses incurred on his personal credit card, and improperly reported other expenses, according to the audit.