Hamilton’s Election Compliance Audit Committee will hold its first meeting reviewing the 2022 municipal election campaign next Thursday morning at City Hall.
They will decide what action to take about Ward 4 Hamilton City Council candidate Cindy Kennedy’s failure to disclose election spending.
Kennedy held a fundraising and awareness event during the Crown Point Community Garage Sale, during which she rented a bouncy castle, purchased ballots with her name on them, and held a fundraising raffle to support her campaign.
Kennedy’s campaign finance return states she spent no money on her 2022 election campaign.
Another candidate, Pascale Marchand, submitted a photo of a Kennedy campaign balloon to the City, requesting a compliance audit.
Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act states, “costs incurred for goods or services by or under the direction of a person wholly or partly for use in his or her election campaign are expenses.”
The balloon is an expense.
Responding to the complaint, Kennedy writes she only spent funds on a meet and greet. The event included a fundraising raffle for her campaign.
“I did have a meet and greet the candidate on the day of the Crown Point Community Garage Sale,” Kennedy writes. “On this day, I rented a bouncy castle for the children at my own cost and had free water and popcorn for people in attendance.”
Kennedy writes that her “sole purpose” at the garage sale “was to talk to neighbours regarding my campaign.”
She defended her decision not to disclose stating she raised less with the raffle than she spent on the event.
“This was the one and only event that I had and the costs that I incurred were far greater than the monetary value that I received as you see it wasn’t about raising money it was raising awareness to who I am and my vision for what I wanted to do as councillor.”
Candidates are required by the Act to disclose their own contributions to their campaigns.
Kennedy’s statement also includes numerous comments against Marchand for filing the compliance request.
“I have nothing to hide and in my opinion this is just a huge waste of taxpayers money,” Kennedy writes. “To me this whole thing is a huge waste of time and money and I’m not sure what the outcome will be.”
The Election Compliance Audit Committee can order an audit of Kennedy’s campaign.
Following an audit, the Kennedy could face the penalty of being ineligible to run for council or school board until after the 2026 municipal election.
Production Details v. 1.0.0 Published: May 3, 2023 Last edited: May 3, 2023 Author: Joey Coleman Edit Record v. 1.0.0 original version v. 1.1.0 CORRECTION: hearing is on Thursday, not Friday as mistakenly written in the original version. Correction made approximately 30 minutes after publication.