36.93% of Steven Del Duca's maxed out donations come from Tories as of Dec 19th, 2019
Take a look for yourself:
What am I looking at?
This is information about all donors who are reported as having contributed the maximum amount allowed, which is $1,600 each, to Steven Del Duca’s campaign for the Ontario Liberal Leadership.
Why am I looking at this?
Because this information shows that Steven Del Duca’s campaign is taking a lot of money from people who are not concerned with Liberal values. This money is coming from people who have previously donated large sums to the PC Party and to candidates for the PC leadership, specifically Doug Ford and Christine Elliott.
Where is this information coming from?
Since 2014, political donations in Ontario go into a publicly searchable database. It’s coming from there. You don’t need to take our word for it. You can check for yourself.
Why would previous donors to the PC leadership race, which happened only last year, be donating now to Steven Del Duca?
You’d have to ask them to be sure. But a reasonable guess would be that they know Ford is on his way out, that they are hoping to buy influence over a successor within the Liberal Party, and Steven Del Duca is most for sale. It’s amazing how many of these people donated the maximum amount to both Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, his main opponent to lead the PC Party, in 2018. These donors know how to hedge their bets.
Why would donors who previously gave large sums to the PC Party be donating now to Steven Del Duca?
At the most generous interpretation, if we exclude those just hoping to buy the next Premier (see above), Steven Del Duca’s campaign is drawing a lot of money from the centre-right. They see the PC Party going down. They hope to replace it with a centre-right Liberal government.
Why are we looking only at those who have contributed the maximum amount? Why not other donors?
These donors are contributing, overall, the large majority of Steven Del Duca’s money. This is the heart of the fundraising strength he keeps talking about. And they don’t behave like other donors who are giving $50, $100, or even $1,000 to the candidate they support. Maximum donors know exactly what they are doing, and what they are buying with their money.
What’s with all the families all donating the maximum amount?
Ontario has eliminated corporate donations, and there is an individual donor limit of $1,600. But that doesn’t stop people with money from spending much, much more on buying their chosen politicians. They just give the money to their spouses, their kids, their siblings, etc. Which is why you see these clusters.
Isn’t that illegal?
Each donor has to promise their donation comes from personal funds, but it’s impossible to verify. The last major scandal around this was in the Federal Liberal Leadership race in 2006, when leadership candidate Joe Volpe was found to be receiving maximum donations from young children, whose parents were all from pharmaceutical companies, primarily Apotex. This became a national joke with the Youth For Volpe website, which is still up! It also torpedoed Volpe’s campaign.
This may be a coincidence, but Steven Del Duca worked as a senior advisor for Joe Volpe, from 2004-2006. Just saying.
How are you associating all of these donations with the PC Party and PC Leadership?
Most of them are easily found. Some come from families who are clearly channeling donations through new family members, and counting those is also easy. Our information is imperfect, but the trends are crystal clear. Most likely, there are far more names here that we can’t catch, because they don’t share a surname. The totals you see here are not over-estimates. They are almost certainly drastic under-estimates.
What else do these donors have in common?
If you dig around enough on Google, through LinkedIn, and other publicly available information, you can see a lot of these families have construction and development companies. Presumably, they are backing a candidate who will be friendly to their building interests. This may not bode well for environmental protection, regulation, and other things that builders dislike.
Okay, I get it, but why should I care?
You don’t have to care if you choose not to. If you want a Liberal leader who is drawing money and support primarily from centre-right business interests, and who is taking money from the very same people who helped Ford become Premier, then it’s your right to not care.
Isn’t it good Steven Del Duca can raise a lot of money?
If you ask him he’ll say so. He says it a lot. But there are other ways to raise money rather than taking it from centre-right business interests, and selling the Liberal Party to the very same people who bought Doug Ford. Steven Del Duca doesn’t even have the most individual donors of the leadership candidates – he just has the ones writing the biggest cheques, and getting their family members to do the same.
So this isn’t a scandal then? No one is alleging wrong-doing?
People with money can give it to any politician they choose. That isn’t a scandal. Channeling it through family is questionable, but impossible to police. This is just information that you may want to help decide who should lead the Ontario Liberal Party. It is information you are entitled to use and consider. That’s exactly why donations are now publicly reported.
Isn’t this an attack on Steven Del Duca? Is this fair?
Steven Del Duca is running for public office, asking to become the next leader of the Liberal Party and if he wins our next Premier. He keeps talking about his fundraising strength as the primary reason to support him. It is absolutely fair to ask about where that money is coming from, and to make that information available.
What about the donors themselves?
Please do not harass the individual donors who have contributed to Steven Del Duca’s campaign, or to any other. Seriously, we mean it. Even if they do represent interests you don’t agree with. That’s not how we rebuild this party. Steven Del Duca is a fair target. These donors are not.