Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Grewal: If he wanted a receipt, he shouldn't have made the cheque out to me

The Vancouver Sun has another story out this morning.

As reported earlier, Grewal is insisting that he did not have to give receipts for cheques made out to him before Januaary 2004.
Grewal released copies of the controversial donation cheques at his office Tuesday -- two $600 cheques that were made out to Grewal personally and a third cheque for $1,800 that was made out to his wife Nina's political campaign -- and defended his reasons for taking the personal cheques without giving receipts or reporting the donations to Elections Canada.

"If he [Barj Dhahan, the man who wrote one of the controversial cheques] wanted a receipt, he could have made it to the [constituency association]," Grewal said.

Explaining why Dhahan wrote one of the cheques directly to him and not to the association, Grewal said: "He was shy and he chose to do that because then his allegiance to the Canadian Alliance would not be made public."

He said the second donor, Sarup Mann gave the same reason for writing a cheque directly to him.

Grewal said he is not able to issue receipts for cheques written directly to him because "I do not have a charitable organization for Gurmant Grewal," and added that Dhahan and Mann should have known that.
Dhahan, however, disputes this version of events.
Reached Tuesday, Dhahan took issue with Grewal's version of events, saying the Surrey MP had specifically requested his cheque not be made to the riding association, and that Grewal had promised a receipt would be issued for the donation. "I do not make personal gifts to people," Dhahan said, explaining Grewal asked the cheque be made out in his own name because he was not yet certain where he was planning to run. "I gave him the money on the understanding that the party he represents would give me a receipt," he said. " 'A receipt will be issued.' Those were his words."

Other noteworthy points. First, there are probably other problematic donations that will emerge:
While defending the cheques, Grewal added there "could be some more" cheques that were made out to him personally, but that he did not know for sure.
Second, at least one of the cheques was written after Jan. 2004 (and presumably after February when she became a candidate, see here).
In regards to the donation made to his wife's campaign, Grewal acknowledged a receipt should have been issued for the $1,800 cheque, and said the error was "simply an oversight on the part of a volunteer who was supposed to issue a receipt."
Third, the Conservative counter-attack apparently will include smearing their donors:
Grewal said he does not recall promising Dhahan a receipt, and accused Dhahan and Mann of being part of a Liberal "smear campaign."

In May, Grewal released secretly recorded tapes that he said show Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, and Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff were trying to entice him across the floor before a crucial budget vote.

He said he believes Dhahan and Mann have ties to Ujjal Dosanjh, and said that they have come forward as part of a larger attempt to discredit his reputation.

"Once they [the Liberals] are caught on tape, they are trying to smear my reputation," Grewal said. "This is completely a smear campaign."

Dhahan denied the allegation. He said he has hosted an event at his house for Dosanjh, but that he does not know him personally, and is not tied to him politically.

"I'm not out here for some personal grudge or vendetta against Mr. Grewal," Dhahan said. "I have nothing to gain from anyone."