Former federal Tory staffer fined in historic unregistered lobbying conviction

Former federal Tory staffer fined in historic unregistered lobbying conviction by CHLOÉ FEDIO, Juyl 31,. 2013, Ottawa Citizen
A former federal Conservative staffer was slapped with a $7,500 fine on Wednesday in a historic first conviction for violating the Lobbying Act. Andrew Skaling had previously worked for Tory MPs, senators and in the “war room” during the 2004 federal election campaign when he was retained by a national health charity to arrange meetings with the “right people” to secure funding, court heard. He lied to the director of the Canadian Network of Respiratory Care three times, saying he had registered as a lobbyist even though he had not.“You knew the rules,” Ontario Justice Ann Alder told Skaling. “You took advantage of this organization.” The federal lobbying law has been around since 1989, but this is the first charge and first conviction, said conflict-of-interest law expert Guy Giorno.“I don’t consider this to be the first and last — I consider this to be the start of a trend,” he said. “The message to lobbyists is to wake up and be careful. It’s a wake-up call.” … “This is further evidence that there are consequences to breaking the Lobbying Act,” commissioner spokesperson Natalie Hall told the Citizen after the court decision. Violations of the act prosecuted by indictment carry a maximum fine of $200,000 or two years in jail. [Emphasis added]

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