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The Hits Just Keep On Coming — Ontario Liberal Insiders and Friends Paid Millions in Taxpayer Funds

(Is there no end to the hell we are living in, in this province?? — DQ)

Adam Radwanski — The Globe and Mail — April 24, 2014

A gap in transparency has allowed millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts to be awarded to friends and allies of political operatives in Ontario without the checks, balances and disclosures that accompany a public tendering process.

A Globe and Mail review has found a pattern of payments, about which little information is available, involving a tight circle of advisers that surrounded former premier Dalton McGuinty during his time in office. Among them were payments of more than $50,000 in the same year to two different companies in the name of the former premier’s campaign director; money repeatedly directed to a high-profile strategist through his then-wife’s business; and more than $300,000 paid to a former chief of staff shortly after he was pushed out of his job.

While there is no indication that any of the transactions were illegitimate, the lack of transparency makes it difficult to determine what services were provided at taxpayers’ expense.

During The Globe’s review, sources who previously worked as senior political staff said they were offered “top-ups” to their salaries through contracts that would never have to be made public.

The Globe review follows a criminal probe that helped bring to light the fact that nearly $160,000 in public funds were paid through a numbered company to Peter Faist, the boyfriend of a deputy chief of staff to Mr. McGuinty, for IT services that police believe led to the destruction of government records. (Mr. Faist was not the subject of the investigation, and police have not accused him of any wrongdoing.) Multiple sources told The Globe and Mail the contract was not an isolated incident.

Such arrangements have been hidden from view because they have been paid out of legislative funds given to each party for spending on the needs of their caucuses, which are not subject to freedom-of-information rules or other transparency measures that apply to government expenditures. Nor are they subject to conflict-of-interest rules.  Continue reading here…..

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