Lobbyist law hard to enforce, prosecute
Re: Commissioner finds former PM staffer guilty of illegal lobbying
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Dateline: Monday, June 18, 2012
From: Duff Conacher
The Commissioner of Lobbying has continued the partial enforcement of federal lobbying disclosure rules by finding Keith Beardsley, former deputy chief of staff for Prime Minister Harper, guilty of violating the Lobbyists' Code because he lobbied without registering within 5 years after leaving his job.
However, this ruling highlights just how weak the Lobbying Act is (compared to the Code), and how weak the enforcement of the law continues to be by the RCMP and especially the Public Prosecutor (who makes the decision about whether to charge lobbyists for failing to register).
Huge loopholes in the Act make it very difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the lobbyist intentionally was paid to lobby and failed to register.
Unfortunately, the House Committee that just reviewed the Act failed to recommend closing the biggest loopholes (although they made some good recommendations to strengthen enforcement).
Secret, unethical lobbying of federal politicians and officials will continue to be effectively legal unless all the loopholes are closed, and all the Committee's other recommendations are enacted.
PS For details about the House Committee report, visit the link below.
Sincerely, Tyler Sommers, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
PO Box 821, Stn B Ottawa, ON
URL 1: http://dwatch.ca/camp/RelsMay1712.html
URL 2: http://democracywatch.ca/