In this article, you will get all the information regarding Vaughn Palmer: Eby only pretended to be at arm’s-length from NDP probe of Appadurai campaign

Opinion: It appears that the Eby complaints were instrumental in providing evidence against Appadurai.

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VICTORIA — While New Democrat David Eby pretended to keep his distance from the controversy over leadership candidate Anjali Appadurai, the Eby campaign provided key evidence that led to her ouster.

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The NDP chief electoral officer, Elizabeth Cull, disclosed Eby’s central role in the summary paragraph of the report that led the party executive to disqualify Appadurai on Wednesday.

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Cull investigated all allegations against the Appadurai campaign, “including a formal complaint filed by the Eby campaign,” her report read in part.

After weighing the evidence and the responses from the Appadurai campaign, she “determined that Ms. Appadurai engaged in serious improper conduct by coordinating with third parties that conducted membership drives on her behalf.”

She ruled “the harm from this misconduct cannot be remedied with any consequence short of disqualification of the Appadurai campaign.”

Elsewhere in the report, Cull provides details of the lengths to which Eby went to bring down Appadurai.

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His campaign filed a formal complaint against her campaign on Sept. 15. A second filing with additional evidence followed on Oct 4. Not content with that, the Eby campaign provided a “further summary” of its case against Appadurai on Oct. 7.

Central to these complaints was what happened on an Aug. 6 Zoom call that proved to be the launching point of the Appadurai campaign.

“Appadurai took part in the call with representatives from the environmental group Dogwood B.C., who promised their resources to sign up tens of thousands of new party members on her behalf,” Katie DeRosa reported in The Vancouver Sun Thursday.

NDP leadership candidate Anjali Appadurai.
NDP leadership candidate Anjali Appadurai. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG files

The contents of the call were key to Cull’s findings that, from the outset of her candidacy, Appadurai benefited from improper contributions and assistance from Dogwood and other third party groups.

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The ever-helpful Eby campaign provided Cull with a full recording and transcript of that Zoom conversation.

Armed with the evidence from the Eby campaign, Cull sought a response from the Appadurai campaign. She also interviewed Appadurai and her financial agent.

The campaign and the candidate herself both professed to be in the dark about what Dogwood was doing on her behalf.

But as the evidence mounted, Cull increasingly greeted those claims with disbelief.

“Significantly, the information received from the Appadurai campaign — including through its formal responses and Ms. Appadurai’s and her campaign’s statements — as well as to the public — were frequently inconsistent if not directly contradictory.”

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So extensive were the allegations coming from the Eby camp that Cull did not get around to dealing with all of them.

The Oct 4 filing included “additional allegations regarding violations of applicable law that had not come to the (chief electoral officer’s) attention earlier. For the purpose of this investigation report, it is not necessary to address these other allegations.”

Cull also chose to disregard Eby’s Oct. 7 summary “as it did not add materially to the investigation.”

The Eby campaign urged Cull to suspend all new memberships received after the formal commencement of the leadership campaign, pending the outcome of her investigation. She rejected that advice.

Eby also challenged the eligibility of 906 voters on the party membership list. The investigation of those challenges continues on a case-by-case basis, according to the Cull report.

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Notwithstanding all those loose ends, it appears that the Eby complaints were instrumental in providing evidence against Appadurai.

He provided the transcript and conversation of the Zoom conversation, which in turn exposed the relationship with Dogwood. Appadurai’s repeated failures to come clean about the relationship shattered her credibility with Cull

In that respect, she was the author of her own misfortune, as I noted here Thursday.

Still, without the push and the material from Eby, it is an open question whether Cull would have had enough evidence to disqualify Appadurai. Eby’s fingerprints are all over the report that brought her down.

Contrast that behind-the-scenes effort with Eby’s public pose on her candidacy.

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In the midst of the Eby campaign’s filings to Cull, the candidate himself appeared on the Mike Smyth show on CKNW radio.

Smyth asked Eby point blank whether Appadurai’s name should be on the leadership ballot and whether party members should be allowed to vote for her.

“Yeah, I’m really excited about the leadership race,” Eby replied, half ducking the question. “That gives me a chance to talk about ideas.”

Smyth went back at it: “Do you think her name should be on the ballot? You have no fear of going against her?”

Eby: “I think we should have a leadership race.”

Smyth: “And she should not be disqualified by the party?

Eby: “Well, that would make it hard to have the race. I understand she’s possibly the only candidate.”

The date was Sept. 29. At that point the Eby campaign had already filed one comprehensive challenge to the Appadurai candidacy and there were two more to come.

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While Eby maintained the public pose of wanting Appadurai to run, his campaign was doing everything in its power to ensure she would be disqualified.

Something to keep in mind as Eby prepares to assume the office of premier.

vpalmer@postmedia.com


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Vaughn Palmer: Eby only pretended to be at arm’s-length from NDP probe of Appadurai campaign

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