The $400K gamble

James
James McLeod
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Runner-up Paul Antle paid $274K out of his own pocket during Liberal leadership race

Paul Antle spent $438,000 on his run for Liberal leadership campaign, and the majority of that money came out of his own pocket.

Liberal leadership hopeful Paul Antle and his wife, Renee Marquis Antle, sit amid supporters at the Nov. 17 Liberal leadership convention in St. John’s. Antle placed second to Dwight Ball with 41 per cent of the vote to Ball’s 59 per cent. — File photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

It’s been a couple of weeks since the Liberal leadership race ended and Antle has been wrapping up his campaign finances; he raised $163,650 from donors, and paid $274,426 out of his own money during the 4 1/2 month campaign.

“It really did exceed where I thought it would be when we started,” Antle told The Telegram. “I thought it would cost maybe $200,00-250,000 when we started. We came in at $438,000 — which is a lot higher than I thought it would be.”

Antle was the runner-up in the Liberal leadership campaign. On the final ballot, he got 41 per cent of the vote, compared to Dwight Ball who won with 59 per cent.

The biggest chunk of money raised by Antle during the campaign came from corporate donations. He received 43 donations from corporations and 33 donations from individual people.

Eight different corporations gave $10,000 donations to Antle, another company gave  $7,500 and four companies gave $5,000 donations to the campaign.

The biggest donation that came from an individual was $5,000.

Antle provided a list of the amounts and the dates that he received the cash, but he wouldn’t identify his donors. He said when people gave him the money, they didn’t know their names would be disclosed, and he has to respect that confidentiality.

“I have gone back to some of the corporate donors and asked them, and they said no,” he said. “They said there was no requirement for disclosure, there was no tax receipt, and it’s over, so we’d just prefer to remain anonymous.”

Looking back on how things went, Antle said that some big changes need to be made when it comes to the money side of the Liberal leadership campaign.

“The party could have put in place some spending limits, just to level the playing field for everybody,” he said.

At this point, Antle said he thinks that the government really needs to make party leadership campaigns part of the Elections Act, and institute a system similar to the rules that apply to a general election campaign.

 

Tax receipts should be issued

Antle said tax receipts should be issued to donors, spending limits should be enshrined in law and all donations over a certain threshold should be publicly disclosed.

“That creates a very level playing field for candidates, and it also provides a level of disclosure to the public,” he said.

“It’s a much more intense process, but it certainly takes away that perception that a political official is having to give favour because someone gave a large donation.”

When the Liberal party drew up its rules for the leadership it didn’t include any guidelines whatsoever about money. That made for a big-spending race where each of the three frontrunners spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unlike a general election or a party donation, nobody who gave money to any of the campaigns got a tax receipt. Antle said he firmly believes that people putting their money up to encourage the political process should get a tax benefit for it.

 

Awkward situations

The system has made for an awkward situation where politicians have taken thousands in donations, but the public doesn’t know who that money is coming from.

Ball has said he’s still pulling together his campaign finance numbers, and he’ll release the dollar figures similar to what Antle did, but he won’t commit to releasing the names of the people who gave money to his campaign.

Ball has said the amounts of money he raised from individuals are so small that nobody will think he’s beholden to anyone.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: The Telegram

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  • Disappointed
    December 04, 2013 - 07:42

    I was disappointed that Paul Antle did make it. I feel he would have been an excellent premier... I like Dwight Ball but he doesn't seem to have the same leadership qualities as Mr Antle. If the liberals are planning to take office, they need to find someone strong to lead them into the next election. Mr Antle wasn't to only one to put their own money into the election bid... Good for him to put himself forward

  • private citizen
    December 02, 2013 - 19:58

    what a stund arse. If he managed his own money that bad, thank god he didn't get to be premier.

  • private citizen
    December 02, 2013 - 19:54

    what a stund arse. If he managed his own money that bad, thank god he didn't get to be premier.

  • the golden rule
    December 02, 2013 - 13:02

    talk about a fool and his money; politics are governed by "the golden rule" he who got the gold makes the rules

  • the golden rule
    December 02, 2013 - 13:00

    talk about a fool and his money; politics are governed by "the golden rule" he who got the gold makes the rules

  • Robert
    December 02, 2013 - 11:19

    Sadly whether your the President of the USA or a person seeking to be on a school board it seems the ones getting "elected" have big bucks behind them. Those of us not so lucky are only expected to pinch our noses and vote. No wonder voting is in constant decline as we know very well at the end of the day our voice in the wilderness counts for very little when decision times come along. It should not surprise anyone that those who "donate" prefer to be not named.......I'm sure somebody's daughter will get that job or somebody's cousin else will get that contract. In some countries they call this corruption!

  • Ken Collis
    December 02, 2013 - 10:58

    The only fair way to hold any kind of political election would be for the federal or provincial governments to give each person who wants to run a party or sit as an MP or MHA a set amount and no donations be allowed. Imagine if anyone who thinks they can help the people, no matter if they are wealthy or not, could run for office. No more obligation to big business, no more 'retired' politicians sitting on corporate boards receiving their payoff. But of course this can't happen because, in my opinion, the ones there now in every party are too crooked to even consider this suggestion.

  • Ken Collis
    December 02, 2013 - 10:55

    The only fair way to hold any kind of political election would be for the federal or provincial governments to give each person who wants to run a party or sit as an MP or MHA a set amount and no donations be allowed. Imagine if anyone who thinks they can help the people, no matter if they are wealthy or not, could run for office. No more obligation to big business, no more 'retired' politicians sitting on corporate boards receiving their payoff. But of course this can't happen because, in my opinion, the ones there now in every party are too crooked to even consider this suggestion.

  • Ken Collis
    December 02, 2013 - 10:51

    The only fair way to hold any kind of political election would be for the federal or provincial governments to give each person who wants to run a party or sit as an MP or MHA a set amount and no donations be allowed. Imagine if anyone who thinks they can help the people, no matter if they are wealthy or not, could run for office. No more obligation to big business, no more 'retired' politicians sitting on corporate boards receiving their payoff. But of course this can't happen because, in my opinion, the ones there now in every party are too crooked to even consider this suggestion.

  • Erin
    December 02, 2013 - 10:28

    If Mr. Antle underestimated his campaign cost by 100% let us thank God he didn't get elected & end up in charge of mustrat falls. When Mr. Ball was questioned about the cost of running in the campaign his answer was " You know I am very fortunate, I have had a good career in business" what he ment was " I am very rich, I have had a good career as a drugist & like all other drugist I have made millions of the sick & suffering" Let us get on our knees and thank God for the wonderful & honest person we have for a Premier.

  • JUST SAYING
    December 02, 2013 - 10:26

    YOU PAY YOUR DIME - YOU TAKE YOUR CHANCES. Who really cares?

  • david
    December 02, 2013 - 09:49

    It's only an expense if you don't win. If you win, it becomes a shrewd investment, one that pays out quite handsomely indeed. Wink wink.

  • test
    December 02, 2013 - 08:09

    test

  • Joe
    December 02, 2013 - 07:32

    Wait now, it's not who contributed to a certain person's leadership run. It's that only people with access to hundreds of thousands can enter politics. Some city councillors spend $50,000 to $100,000. Now we have a price we can put on democracy.

  • Duggan
    December 02, 2013 - 07:11

    He entered the race too late. Most of the capable politicos had given their support and expertise to the other campaigns by the time he got in. A pity to as he is the best candidate on paper. But a second rate team gets you a second rate result. the TV adverts didn't sway any voters the Cathy Bennett or Paul Antle campaigns, This exercise was a ground war and the Old Guard and Ex Officio members of the Liberal party went to Ball very early in the process.

  • Steve
    December 02, 2013 - 05:51

    My heart bleeds purple urine for him, boo and hoo, go cry me a river. It's an internal problem that they started when they let the lawyers in. You want real change? Run as an independent (NOT NDP either). Put NOTA (none of the above) on the next ballot, allow the voters the right not to have these sleazy lowlifes sucking every last hard earned tax dollar out of the pipes for their own personal gain.

  • Ellen
    December 02, 2013 - 05:17

    Liberals are always talking about the PCS not been transparent with the people, Don't say much about the liberal.

  • Charles
    December 02, 2013 - 04:55

    Mr Antle, its not the amount of money was spend, Its just that you had nothing to offer the people, And beside you and the other four was waiting your time, As Judy Morrow told Bill Rowe, the party feel Mr Ball was the man for the party, From the time she had spoken those words on the open line show. the seed was plants in the people minds.