Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fact checking Anti-Maloway Claims: Fund for the Nonexistent Office

Riverman has recently accused Jim Maloway of some pretty heavy things.  So I've decided to do some fact checking. As the responses would be too heavy for a reply I'm compiling them into a series of posts.

The first claim I'm going to check in this series involves Maloway's "fund for a non-existent office".


Riverman's Charge
Maloway took money for a constituency office for most of the time he was an MLA, without having one. No money was returned. It was on CTV news.

The Truth: River's claim is true. Maloway did use a fund for constituency offices for other things - like multiple phones. It is somewhat misleading, though, as that wasn't improper under Manitoba Provincial law at the time.

Currently there are two "constituency allowance" expenses that are office expenses - office space expenses and office operation expenses. Office operation expenses includes communication expenses - not all of which imply the existence of an office.

communications equipment* including:

- cell phone under the Legislative Assembly cell phone plan,
- Blackberry under the Legislative Assembly Blackberry
plan,

- cell phone signal booster for a location where the signal is
weak,

- conference call equipment,

- hands-free phone equipment for a vehicle such as a
Bluetooth device for use of a cell phone.

Arrangements for cell phones and Blackberries must be made through
the Members’ Allowances Office. These devices are property of the
Legislative Assembly and must be returned to the Assembly when no
longer in use or when ceasing to be a Member.


*The number of communications devices and related services listed
above are limited to the:


a) Member - one cell phone, one Blackberry, one installed car
phone (must be permanently installed – e.g. OnStar).

b) constituency office - a telephone land line, a fax line and
Internet service.
c) constituency assistant (whose salary is paid out of the
Constituency Assistants Allowance) - either a cell phone or a
Blackberry.

d) Member’s home (only if necessary for constituency purposes -
there is a requirement to monitor these expenses) - a telephone
land line, a fax line and Internet service.

telephone services including:
- installation,
- telephone rent,
- directory listing,
- answering service,
- 800 service,
- long distance,
- charges related to the use of cell phones, Blackberries,
PDAs or other mobile communication devices,
- automated calling services (telephone blasts) subject to
content requirements for an advertisement or message.
(Constituency Expenses - Government of Manitoba)

Maloway's Defence 


"It's just a more I think reasonable and creative way of using the funds," he said when confronted with the information by CTV's Kevin Armstrong. "My caucus staff went through and they double checked to make sure that we are okay."

MLA's are not required to have a constituency office.

Maloway said an office itself was a waste of money, so he decided to spend his allowance in other ways.
              ("MLA claims expenses for office that doesn't exist". CTV. Jan. 18, 2008)



Moral Verdict: That was a bit too "creative". I probably wouldn't have done it. Generally, unless you have a really well-organized home office in your constituency, it's best to have an actual office - something he was planning on setting up before getting elected MP. Jim Maloway's use of the funds for phones -- key to communicating with and being accessible to his constituents  - does make sense. There was some problematic expense accounting when it came funds used for political instead of non-partisan advertising, though. It's fair to say that Maloway should have practised more diligence, but he didn't do anything too egregious. In light of new evidence and pending further investigating, I will withdraw the verdict.- March 20, 2012

5 comments:

  1. I see that your douchebag meter is registering the same as mine. Good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I challenge you to make that add up to $44,000.

    Really. Give it a try.

    Also IIRC this was a yearly charge, for over 10 years.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know the time-frames for the numbers or whether CTV mixes them or not (i.e. including the phone bill for one year and then including the total number of office expenses over a 10 year period). I'd need more documentation to "tally up" the numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This blog is very good. I am impressed in your blog & mostly impressed in your information.

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    ReplyDelete
  5. So here we are again in 2016 and Maloway's address on 46 Stadcona is both showing his campaign and constituency office. DUH

    ReplyDelete