Bribery allegations surface in second Tory nomination race

A candidate for the Progressive Conservative nomination in Edmonton-Meadowlark alleges he was offered money to drop out of the race by another candidate’s campaign.

In an email sent to the Edmonton-Meadowlark PC Association, Steve Benson said he has filed an affidavit with the party.

“The affidavit concerns an approach that was made to me by a representative of another campaign to drop out of tomorrow’s nomination race for a cash payment,” Benson wrote.

“I was told if I dropped out of the race I would receive a payment to cover all of my expenses.”

Katherine O’Neill and Tom Choucair are also running for the nomination. Benson does not name the campaign that allegedly made the offer, which he said he did not accept.

In written statement, O’Neill said her campaign was not involved.

“In no way am I associated with the serious allegations outlined in a statement released by Steve Benson earlier today,” she said.

“The reason I got into politics was to restore integrity and honour to public service. These allegations trouble me deeply, and I’m confident the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta will address them thoroughly before tomorrow’s vote.”

Choucair has yet to comment. The party has not yet released an official statement.

The nomination vote is scheduled for Saturday. 

Earlier Friday, Naresh Bhardwaj stepped down as the associate minister for persons with disabilities after the party received bribery allegations involving someone on his campaign. 

Bhardwaj denies the allegations and is taking legal action. 



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