Elections Alberta has opened an investigation into the activities and financial filings of Take Back Alberta (TBA), the Western Standard has learned. Since March, Elections Alberta has received multiple complaints about TBA's activities and finances. Some of these allegations include an affiliation between TBA and the Alberta United Conservative Party, engaging in activities supporting the work of politicians, and accepting contributions in a manner not complying with the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (EFCDA). TBA is an advocacy group formed in 2021 to unite Albertans in removing former premier Jason Kenney from office. Aside from removing Kenney, some of its other victories include helping Alberta Premier Danielle Smith win the UCP leadership race, assisting her in winning the election, and sweeping the board elections at the last two annual general meetings. TBA Executive Director David Parker declined to comment personally, referring the matter to its lawyers Jeff Rath and Leighton Grey. Rath and Grey confirmed in a statement it would be co-operating with the investigation. While this investigation could be perceived as targeted, Elections Alberta Commissioner Paula Hale said it conducts frequent audits and reviews of financial filings of political participants. “The Election Commissioner has the authority to review such matters further by conducting a formal investigation," said Hale in a Tuesday letter to Parker. During the investigation, Hale said she has “the power to enforce and compel attendance of witnesses as if I was a judge of the Court of King’s Bench.” “Because the allegations are serious in nature and your evidence appears to be key, I will be contacting you again in future to gather additional evidence and to participate in an interview,” she said. In response to the investigation, Rath and Grey pointed to a section of the act about disclosure. Under this section, the election commissioner cannot make adverse findings until reasonable notice has been provided to the participants affected. "In her letter, Commissioner Hale specifically references contacting Mr. Parker ‘to gather additional evidence and to participate in a review,'" said Rath and Grey. They called it “clear that the Commissioner is presently in possession of undisclosed evidence concerning the substance of these allegations.” Without such disclosure, they said Parker cannot participate in any informed way with the investigation. Rath said in an interview with the Western Standard the complaints raise many questions. "We don't know who the identities are of the alleged complainants as well as the specifics of the alleged complaints, which makes what Elections Alberta is doing at this stage very difficult to respond to," he said. "You know given the lack of specificity in and around the identity of the alleged complainants or the allegations themselves." In this case, he said the complaints look politically motivated. Alberta NDP or disgruntled UCP members could have opted to make them to cause mischief. While this investigation could be seen as problematic, former TBA CFO Marco Van Huigenbos said Elections Alberta investigates many organizations. “I’m not sure what triggered this,” said Van Huigenbos. “I think a lot of organizations go through this process, so I don’t think Take Back Alberta has necessarily been singled out.” Since there has been plenty of hype around TBA, Van Huigenbos said he is unsurprised by the investigation. He vowed to co-operate with it. Public unions and labour groups were the largest spenders in the last Alberta election, according to a November 22 report conducted by Elections Alberta’s chief electoral officer. READ MORE: Alberta Elections report shows unions biggest political advertisers in 2022Third party advertisers of all stripes spent about $3.5 million in 2022, including $2.98 million from political third party advertisers that are limited to spending outside election periods.Of election third party advertisers, 73% of about $438,000 of contributions came from trade unions. When it came to these contributions, $320,000 was from the Alberta Federation of Labour and $116,958 was attributed to the National Police Federation. Van Huigenbos said on Thursday he was contacted by an Elections Alberta investigator to open the books on its financial reporting, including for the election where it reported zero donations and zero expenditures as a registered election advertiser.“I think there’s things coming down the line that are going to have consequences for them,” he said. “Elections Alberta is on the trail.”While TBA is being investigated by Elections Alberta now, Parker said a few days prior to the letter he had spoken with it. "We are not being audited nor are we facing an audit," he said."Take Back Alberta is up to date on all our election filings.".Elections Alberta declined to comment.Disclosure: David Parker holds shares equivalent to 0.64% ownership of Western Standard New Media Corp.