Report on Investigation — The Lobbying Activities of Mark Jiles
Companies and other organizations attempting to put forward their views on federal laws, regulations and policies, or to obtain licences and certifications required under federal law, sometimes hire lobbyists to assist them through the process. These individuals may also arrange meetings between the company or organization and government officials or communicate with government officials to clarify the details of a company's proposal or to negotiate the terms of an agreement.
These are legitimate actions on the part of companies and organizations and those they hire. The Lobbying Act and its predecessor, the Lobbyists Registration Act, acknowledge this legitimacy but impose certain obligations of disclosure and behaviour on those who, for payment, undertake to assist companies in this way.
I have taken both the report of the Investigations Directorate and the representations of Mr. Jiles into consideration in reaching my conclusions. I have concluded that Mr. Jiles was paid to arrange meetings between federal public office holders and his clients and that he failed to register his undertakings as required under the Lobbyists Registration Act. He also neglected to provide accurate information and inform his clients of his obligations under the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.
This chapter summarizes my conclusions regarding the activities of Mr. Jiles on behalf of his clients, and my reasons for reaching these conclusions.
1. Whether Mr. Jiles arranged a meeting between a public office holder and any other person
Evidence obtained during the course of this investigation reveals that, on several occasions between July 2005 and June 2007, Mr. Jiles arranged meetings between federal public office holders and his clients, the State of Washington and the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of British Columbia. This is a registrable lobbying activity if performed for payment pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(b) of the Lobbyists Registration Act and remains registrable lobbying activity under the Lobbying Act.
Meetings arranged on behalf of the State of Washington
Mr. Jiles, on behalf of the State of Washington Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, arranged one or more meetings between public office holders involved in planning for the Vancouver Olympics of 2010 and his client, the State of Washington.
Meetings arranged on behalf of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association (MPPIA)
Mr. Jiles, on behalf of his client the Motion Picture Production Industry Association, contacted federal officials to arrange for introductions and to enable meetings between his clients and federal officials who had expressed an interest in meeting with the MPPIA in order to become familiar with the MPPIA's work and the issues that the MPPIA was interested in.
2. Whether Mr. Jiles did so for payment
Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation demonstrates that the work performed by the Blue Stone Group and the Progressive Group on behalf of both the State of Washington and the MPPIA was for payment.
The Undertaking for the State of Washington
The Progressive Group was engaged by the State of Washington, Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) on at least two occasions. The contracts were for services provided from May 1 to September 30, 2006 and from January 12 to June 30, 2007. Each of the contracts for services provided that the Progressive Group would be paid based upon invoices for services rendered by Mr. Jiles at agreed fees. The State of Washington paid the Progressive Group, in May and June of 2006 and during the first six months of 2007.
The Undertaking for the Motion Picture Production Industry Association (MPPIA)
The Blue Stone Group was retained by the MPPIA to assist the MPPIA in an effort to "…convince the Provincial government to extend the foreign tax credits and to convince the Federal Government to drop the idea of taxing residual profits on motion pictures made in Canada."
Mr Jiles was paid for his services on behalf of the MPPIA. Each of the proposals that he submitted and which were approved by the MPPIA contained estimated costs of his services, and the MPPIA paid the Blue Stone Group for the services rendered by Mr. Jiles.
3. Whether Mr. Jiles engaged in activity requiring registration under the Lobbyists Registration Act
Mr. Jiles, for payment and on behalf of the above-mentioned clients, conducted activity described in subsection 5(1)(b) of the Act when he arranged meetings between his clients and federal public office holders. Mr. Jiles was, therefore, engaged in activity necessitating registration as a consultant lobbyist, and was required to file a lobbyist registration return not later than 10 days after entering into his undertakings, but failed to do so.
4. Whether Mr. Jiles was in breach of the Principle of Professionalism
Individuals who conduct activities requiring registration as a lobbyist must comply with the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct* that is based on a body of overriding principles, one of which is the Principle of Professionalism.
Lobbyists should observe the highest professional and ethical standards. In particular, lobbyists should conform fully with not only the letter but the spirit of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct as well as all the relevant laws, including the Lobbyists Registration Act and its regulations.
By failing to file a lobbyist registration return within time limits prescribed in the Lobbyists Registration Act, Mr. Jiles engaged in activity on behalf of the State of Washington and the MPPIA that was in breach of the Principle of Professionalism in the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.
5. Whether Mr. Jiles was in breach of Rule 2 of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct
Individuals who engage in activity requiring registration must also comply with a series of eight rules set out in the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct**. In an effort to promote transparency, Rule 2 requires that lobbyists must provide accurate information.
Lobbyists shall provide information that is accurate and factual to public office holders. Moreover, lobbyists shall not knowingly mislead anyone and shall use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently.
By failing to register as a lobbyist, Mr. Jiles did not appropriately identify himself as a lobbyist and, as a result, he did not provide accurate information to public office holders. As a consequence, individuals and organizations with an interest in the lobbying activities of the State of Washington and the MPPIA were misled about the existence of lobbying activity. I have concluded that Mr. Jiles was in breach of Rule 2 of the Code (Accurate information).
6. Whether Mr. Jiles was in breach of Rule 3 of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct
Transparency is also enhanced by requiring that lobbyists advise their clients of their obligations under the federal lobbying registration regime.
Disclosure of obligations
Lobbyists shall indicate to their client, employer or organization their obligations under the Lobbyists Registration Act, and their obligation to adhere to the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. ***
Mr. Jiles' clients, the State of Washington and the MPPIA, were unaware of his obligation to register as a consultant lobbyist acting on their behalf. It may be inferred that he did not disclose his obligations under the Lobbyists Registration Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct and, therefore, I have concluded that he was in breach of Rule 3 (Disclosure of obligations) of the Code with respect to these undertakings.
*, ** and *** – This version of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct was in effect during the period covered by this Report (July 2005 to June 2007). Return to reference * Return to reference ** Return to reference ***