pc invoice

Ontario PC Party now apologizing after sending phony invoices to get donations

Letters that the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario may have thought were a new and creative way of securing campaign donations have quite justifiably led to a ton of public outrage and backlash this week.

Constituents across the province have been receiving appeals for fundraising disguised as invoices that indicate that they owe hundreds of dollars.

Though a discerning eye can see that the "invoices" are not real, mandatory charges, many are extremely offput by the party's method.

The official-looking document says "invoice" in large letters at the top, and below it, a chart typical of your average bill, with a charge listed for an "Election Readiness Fund" and a "Balance Due" ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $2,000.

"Please respond today" it says at the bottom of the page.

The province's Liberal party was swift to issue an unsparing response, saying in a statement on Wednesday that the correspondence is misleading and "similar to those used in false billing scams that aim to defraud vulnerable individuals. Scamming donors is straight out of the Donald Trump playbook."

It adds that the Liberals are requesting an investigation into the tactic by Elections Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Police, and gives the official definition of fraud from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre — a definition that the letter does seem to fit, if any recipient mistakes it for a real invoice.

At least one NDP MPP has likewise asked for a formal review of whether the fundraising strategy violates the Elections Act.

In the midst of all the buzz, the PCs, too, released a statement on the matter Thursday, saying that "at no time was it our intention to mislead our valued supporters."

"We regret that this correspondence was sent to a limited group of supporters by one of our vendors and will not happen again. We apologize for any confusion or frustration this may have caused."

The vendor in question is Toronto-based firm The Responsive Marketing Group, part of The iMarketing Solutions Group, from which someone is no doubt now facing punitive action, if not getting fired.

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