The integrity commissioner of Brampton, Ont. has cleared Mayor Patrick Brown of an allegation that he was using city staff to work on his Conservative Party leadership bid while they were being paid by the city.
The office was looking into the issue following a report from Rebel Media in June.
Brown called the entire investigation a "waste of taxpayer money" in a statement Thursday evening.
"I am vindicated now that the Integrity Commissioner has ruled I did nothing wrong," he said.
Brown was disqualified from the Conservative leadership race in July based on allegations related to an apparent breach of the financing rules in the Canada Elections Act. Following his disqualification, CBC Toronto reported that five Brampton city councillors released a statement about Brown's "clear and alarming pattern of behaviour." In that statement, the councillors made reference to Rebel Media's allegation.
The integrity commissioner's investigation was officially prompted by a complaint submitted by former Bramption city councillor Elaine Moore.
In a copy of the disposition letter, addressed to Moore and obtained by CBC Toronto, the integrity commissioner stated, "we are unable to find that the mayor breached the Code of Conduct as alleged."
Per the mayor's statement, the integrity commissioner said that they did not "obtain evidence to substantiate the allegation that the Mayor contravened the Brampton Code of Conduct by having his staff work on his CP Leadership campaign on City-paid time."
They further clarified that records show that staff time used to work on the campaign was recorded as vacation or lieu time, and in one case, a leave of absence.
The integrity commissioner also stated there's no evidence that the mayor compelled any employee to work on the leadership campaign.
Brown called for an apology from the media organization that made the allegation.
He is seeking re-election this fall.