Friday, September 4, 2015

circumstances of this case call for an administrative penalty both to encourage this lobbyist to take his obligations under the LRA with the utmost seriousness and .....

Is it better for a British Columbia lobbyist to accept his punishment or ask for reconsideration of an investigator's findings?

The lobbyist was correct; the Office of the Registrar was incorrect .... but ....
 based on new evidence submitted  by the lobbyist it turns out that he was in contravention of two other Sections of the Act which were dealt in two 'findings'.  First from Tim Mots, and then on August 18, 2015 by Elizabeth Denham who imposed a September 29, 2015 deadline for payment of the Penalty.

ORL
Office of the regsitrar of lobbyists British Columbia
INVESTIGATION REPORT 15-01
LOBBYIST: Brad Zubyk
June 15, 2015
RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE LRA
Requirement to file return
3(1) Within 10 days after entering into an undertaking to lobby on behalf of a client, a consultant lobbyist must file with the registrar a return in the prescribed form and containing the information required by section 4.


SUMMARY: A consultant lobbyist (the “lobbyist”) filed a return with the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists (“ORL”) on August 13, 2013. The lobbyist certified that the commencement date of his undertaking was July 1, 2013. An investigation by the ORL found that the lobbyist failed to meet his obligations under s. 3(1) of the Lobbyists Registration Act (“LRA’3 when he did not file a return within 10 days of entering into an undertaking to lobby on behalf of a client. The lobbyist asked the Registrar of Lobbyists (the “Registrar”) to reconsider the investigator’s findings.  Based on new evidence submitted by the lobbyist, the Registrar rescinded the investigator’s findings. However, the new evidence prompted the Registrar to initiate an investigation to determine whether the lobbyist had possibly contravened s. 4(1) of the LRA. The Investigator concluded that the lobbyist had contravened s. 3(1) not s. 4(1) of the LRA. The Investigator also discovered additional evidence which showed that the lobbyist had also contravened ss. 4(1 )(b)(iii), 4(1 )(d) and 4(2)(a) of the LRA. The lobbyist was fined $3,500.

Statutes Considered: Lobbyists Registration Act, S.B.C. 2001, c. 42.

Snip

[52] Together with the above factors, I have also considered whether an administrative penalty is necessary for specific or general deterrence. In my view, the circumstances of this case call for an administrative penalty both to encourage this lobbyist to take his obligations under the LRA with the utmost seriousness, and to remind all lobbyists of their legal obligations to be diligent in keeping their registrations current and accurate.
[53] The ORL policies and procedures, which are intended only as a guide, suggest a range of penalties for contraventions of the LRA. The penalty for a late filing has a range of $100 to $5,000 for a first instance of non-compliance. This is the second time the lobbyist has been found in contravention of s. 3(1) of the LRA, although in this case it is being treated as a first occurrence since IR 14-07 and the original investigation report into this matter, IR 14-06, occurred at the same time. The suggested range of penalty for failing to report changes or late reporting of changes is $100 to $5,000. The penalty for entering information that is not true into a return has a range of $1,000 to
$7,500 for the first instance of non-compliance.

CONCLUSION
1. Under s. 7.2(2) of the LRA, I find that the lobbyist contravened ss. 3(1), 4(1)(b)(iii), 4(1)(d) and 4(2)(a) of the LRA in respect of registration ID 17159308.
2. The notice of alleged contravention has been substantiated.
3. Section 7.2(2) authorizes the Registrar to impose administrative penalties up to $25,000 when there is a contravention of the LRA. Previous investigations have levied penalties in the range of $700 for a first contravention of s. 3(1) of the LRA. Given the circumstances of this investigation, which I consider to be of moderate seriousness, I impose an administrative penalty of $1,500.
4. With respect to adding another consultant lobbyist’s name to the lobbyist’s return in error (s. 4(1 )(b)(iii)) and not correcting the error within the legislated timelines (s. 4(2)(a)), counsel for the lobbyist advised that the lobbyist would be happy to update the return to correct the error. After the ORL responded, the lobbyist subsequently removed the incorrect entry from his return. I do not impose a penalty for these contraventions.
5. Nothing frustrates transparency more than failing to enter correct information, in this case the client’s name ‘Recycle First’, into a return. This violation is in my judgment a serious and significant matter given the purposes of the LRA. For this reason, and taking into account that this particular violation is a first infraction of this type by this lobbyist, I impose an administrative penalty of $2,000 for failing to enter the correct client’s name in the return contrary to s. 4(1 )(d) of the LRA.
6. The total amount of the penalty is $3,500.
7. The lobbyist must pay this penalty no later than July 27, 2015.
8. If the lobbyist requests reconsideration under s. 7.3 of the LRA, he is to do so within 30 days of receiving this decision by providing a letter in writing directed to the Registrar of Lobbyists at the following address, setting out the grounds on which reconsideration is requested:

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists for British Columbia
P0 Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, BC V8W 9A4
*******************
Reference:

“Brad Zubyk is one of British Columbia’s most talented and well-connected political strategy guys.” 


Mike Smyth Twitter

*******************

The Tyee: Bob Mackin

One Fine Dropped, One Upheld for BC Lobbyist

 

No comments: