Tories may have broken 2011 election rules with US Republican campaigners in Ontario
U.S. directors from Front Porch Strategies worked “in the trenches” for Tory candidates in 2011, going door to door and openly campaigning for Conservative candidates, the firm's Canadian liason said.
Front Porch Strategies describes itself as a “voter contact and constituency outreach” firm, offering teleforums, robocalling and other services.
Strong Republican ties
The company and its staff have numerous ties to Republican election campaigns, as well as Evangelical Christian groups and anti-abortion campaigns in the U.S.
The firm boasts a number of GOP congressional election campaigns under its belt.
According to his Front Porch bio, Parker, a long-time Republican operative, is the former chair of the Belmont County, Ohio Republican Party. Wenzel served on Ohio's Republican central committee, as well as for the national Republican campaigns for former U.S. president George W. Bush, U.S. Speaker John Boehner, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, Steve Poizner for Governor, and Senator Jim DeMint.
Wenzel served on a major Ohio GOP committee while it was chaired by Bernadette Noe, who with her husband Tom Noe, were top donors to the party. The Noe couple also attended Wenzel's wedding.
Front Porch Strategies founder Matthew Parker: a Christian conservative
As well as being a well-connected Republican, Parker is a devout Christian: he states that "homosexuality is sin" and considers abortion "the most important issue facing government today."
On his personal Tumblr blog, Parker Ponders, he writes:
“I get to work on campaigns for a living—another blessing from God,” Parker wrote. “Last year, I was so proud to work for many new pro-life legislators.
“Many of these legislators co-sponsored HB 125, aka The Heartbeat Bill. This bill will prohibit abortions after a heartbeat is detected. This bill will eliminate over 90% of abortions in Ohio.”
In that post, he writes that supporting reproductive rights is unbiblical.
“I firmly believe the Word of God backs me up on this,” Parker wrote. “God is 100% pro-life.”
Front Porch Strategies denies illegal calls
According to a CBC News source connected to Front Porch Strategies, the company masked the phone calls it made during its 14 Canadian election campaigns to appear as if the numbers were from the local Conservative campaign headquarters and not Ohio.
When asked about the robocall voter suppression scandal, Ross told the Vancouver Observer that illegal calls were “malicious and illegal,” adding that wider allegations “sound like errors interpreted as intentional misdirection.”
He denied that Front Porch Strategies were involved in any way.
“We are in the business of democracy, and we highly value the right of each person to vote for the candidate of their choice without interference,” he said.
“Obviously something malicious and illegal happened in Guelph, when it is determined who did that, they should and presumably will be prosecuted.”
A violation of Section 331 of the Canada Elections Act - if found to be intentional - carries a "$2,000 fine, six month imprisonment, or both," according to the Act.
Elections Canada told the Vancouver Observer it could not comment directly on this case, but said that the Commissioner of Elections could proceed with an investigation if there were a formal complaint filed.
"I can't say whether something's against the Act myself," said Elections Canada spokesperson Diane Benson. "It's always going to depend on the circumstances of what actually happened.
"The Office of the Commissioner can receive complaints . . . All complaints are reviewed, they're always looked at. It depends on the evidence if it goes to investigation."