Charity CEO suspended for Frydenberg flyer

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Guide Dogs Victoria boss Karen Hayes has been stood down, pending the outcome of an investigation into her endorsing Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for re-election.

Karen Hayes was featured in a flyer and a promotional video posted on social media backing Mr Frydenberg as the member for Kooyong ahead of the May 21 poll.

When made aware of the material last week, the charity's board confirmed it had not approved it and requested its immediate removal from circulation while launching an internal investigation.

On Tuesday, Guide Dogs Victoria confirmed Ms Hayes had been stood down from her role, pending the probe's outcome.

"The independent investigation is underway and is ongoing. The purpose of the investigation is to understand what happened and ensure it never happens again," it said in a statement.

The flyer and promotional video were authorised by Mr Frydenberg's Hawthorn East office, in compliance with electoral laws.

However, charity groups are bound by regulations enforced by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and can be stripped of their status if unable or unwilling to rectify serious breaches.

The ACNC reminded charities of their obligations less than a week before the Ms Hayes' comments came to light.

Ms Hayes also appeared in a similar promotional video for Mr Frydenberg before the 2019 federal election, with the Morrison government giving Guide Dogs Victoria $2.5 million the following year to upgrade its facilities.

Mr Frydenberg is under pressure to retain his blue-ribbon seat in Melbourne's inner east, with "teal" independent candidate Monique Ryan mounting a strong challenge.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mr Frydenberg described the news as "extremely disappointing".

"Ms Hayes has been a highly effective and widely respected CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria for more than a decade. In this time, she has significantly strengthened the organisation, its finances and community outreach," the statement said.

"Josh has worked closely with Ms Hayes and Guide Dogs Victoria over many years in his capacity as the Member for Kooyong, including on major infrastructure projects."

The spokesperson said Mr Frydenberg would await the outcome of the internal investigation before commenting further.

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