Published September 26, 2013
Ottawa (AFP) – A Canadian MP and former parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was charged Thursday with election overspending and attempting to cover it up in official filings.
Prosecutors accuse Conservative lawmaker Dean Del Mastro and a campaign worker of allegedly exceeding contribution limits and incurring more expenses than allowed in the 2008 general election.
The pair also allegedly failed to report Can$21,000 (US$20,370) in campaign expenses, only telling authorities about Can$1,575.
"Each knew or ought reasonably to have known (the filing) contained a material statement that was false or misleading," Elections Canada said in a statement.
Del Mastro disputed the charges.
"I entirely reject these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to defend myself in court," he said in a statement.
However, he said he intended to "step out" of his party's caucus "until this matter is resolved."
If convicted, the two face up to five years in jail and a Can$5,000 fine.
Del Mastro was appointed parliamentary secretary to Harper in 2011, but was shuffled out of the role earlier this month.
Canada's opposition New Democrats called on Harper to strip Del Mastro of his other roles in the government.