Kai Nagata of Dogwood communications team has leveled allegations against Mid Island-Pacific Rim Liberal candidate Darren DeLuca, linking him to a U.S. Super PAC fund which has been accused of channeling money into the B.C. election.
Nagata published an article online providing a link to an auction from 2014, in which DeLuca auctioned off a five-day coastal black bear hunt with U.S. fighter pilot, Scott O’Grady. The online auction, which was still visible when the paper went to press, said, “Proceeds from this hunt support SCI’s Super PAC, Hunter Defense Fund, which protects your right to hunt.” The prize eventually went for $30,000 USD. The auction also names DeLuca a “life member” of SCI.
Safari Club International is the largest sportsmen-led political action committee in America. Since 2000, SCI has spent $140 million protecting the freedom to hunt through policy advocacy, litigation and education for federal and state legislators.
Last month, Nagata said, SCI donated a cheque worth $60,000 to the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia to “prevent the NDP from getting elected and ending the hunt.” The original Facebook post has since been deleted.
The Alberni Valley News reached out to DeLuca for comment, however, he didn’t return the newspaper’s calls.
As Nagata points out, DeLuca is also the vice-president of the Guide Outfitters Association.
“They do a lot of conservation work, but they also are the only advocacy group to lobby to keep commercial grizzly hunting open in British Columbia,” said Nagata.
“They are active donors and lobbyists on this issue to both parties,” he said. “They will donate to support politicians who support their goals.”
DeLuca received a $2,500 donation from this association during his last campaign in 2013, according to his election financing report.
SCI-PAC, in the meantime, raises millions of dollars per year and spends that to put politicians in power.
DeLuca “straddled the two worlds,” as Nagata put it. He has raised money for the U.S. political action group.
But he is also a candidate who is receiving money, Nagata said.