MLA Brian Jean says 8 credit cards allegedly bought thousands of UCP memberships

UCP MLA Brian Jean said Monday that he has filed a complaint with Elections Alberta after his team discovered eight credit cards were used to purchase more than 4,619 memberships to the party.

When asked how he found the information, Jean says he discovered the situation by “digging.”

“We know now that there were more than 4,000 memberships that were purchased under very dubious circumstances and the only team that could buy them under those circumstances was Jason Kenney’s team,” the MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche said.

“Our understanding is that multiple parties made complaints with Elections Alberta in relation to this and we understand they’re investigating it.”

Read more: UCP says report of member receiving 2 leadership vote ballots ‘not a concern’

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In a statement, Elections Alberta said it is “unable to comment about allegations that we may or may not have received, or investigations that we may or may not be conducting.”

Government House Leader Jason Nixon said Monday that the UCP was “not aware” of an investigation, but noted that bulk purchasing of memberships is “standard process,” on Jean would likely have used himself.

“Using (online) portals to upload memberships is a standard process in the party,” Nixon said. “You still have to have sold the membership to the individual, you have to had collected the payment from the individual and you have filled the paperwork out with the individual.”

Read more: Jean calls Kenney soft on Ottawa, gets verbal slap in return

Irfan Sabir, MLA for Calgary-McCall, said the province’s information and privacy commissioner should also look into the allegations.

“I think these are pretty serious allegations,” Sabir said Monday, calling it a question of democratic transparency. “When Bill 81 (the Election Statutes Amendment Act) was before the legislature, we raised these serious concerns, Albertans raised these serious concerns, three of their MLAs voted against this bill. But the government didn’t listen to any of that.”

“We kind of saw this coming: that when you will allow somebody to purchase membership without a person’s consent or knowledge, this thing was bound to happen.”

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UCP says report of member receiving 2 leadership vote ballots ‘not a concern’ – Apr 30, 2022

A party representative told Global News that the claims from Jean about an investigation are “false.”

“These claims are completely false and aren’t supported by any evidence,” UCP spokesperson Dave Prisco said in a statement. He confirmed that credit card can be used to input cash membership sales into the party’s system, but the payments must be accompanied by a paper copy of the membership sale.

“These are carefully audited and if it does not meet the requirements, the membership is cancelled,” Prisco said.

The results of the mail-in balloted leadership review of Premier Jason Kenney’s leadership will be counted from May 11 to 17 and are expected to be announced May 18.

— with files from Adam Toy, Global News

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