Report on Investigation — The Lobbying Activities of Keith Beardsley (page 2 of 9)


Commissioner's Comments

As Commissioner of Lobbying, I have the responsibility to investigate allegations of activities that might be in breach of laws and rules surrounding lobbying at the federal level. This case came to my attention as a result of a referral to my Office by a public office holder in November 2009. The Investigations Directorate of my Office carried out an administrative review following the referral. At the conclusion of the administrative review, I decided to open an investigation under subsection 10.4(1) of the Lobbying Act.

Issue

Lobbyists have certain legal and professional obligations to follow when they work on behalf of clients or employers. Individual consultant lobbyists are required to file a return with the Commissioner if, for payment, they undertake to arrange meetings or communicate with public office holders in respect of: the development of any legislative proposal; the introduction, passage, defeat or amendment of any Bill or resolution; the making or amendment of any regulation; the development or amendment of any policy or program; the awarding of any grant, contribution or financial benefit; or, the awarding of any contract.

Since the legislative changes to the Lobbying Act came into effect on July 2, 2008, certain former public office holders, known as designated public office holders, have been subject to a post-employment five-year prohibition on lobbying activity. That prohibition is set out in section 10.11 of the Lobbying Act. It applies to former ministers and ministers of state, and their staff, former deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers or equivalent senior executives in federal government institutions, along with a limited number of positions designated by regulation. Since September 20, 2010, this category has included all members of the Senate and the House of Commons.

It was alleged that Mr. Keith Beardsley, a consultant associated with True North Public Affairs (TNPA), an Ottawa-based consulting firm, engaged in lobbying activity. This was during a period when he was prohibited from registering as a consultant lobbyist, as he was subject to the five-year prohibition on lobbying set out in section 10.11 of the Lobbying Act.

Investigation

An administrative review concerning the allegations under the Lobbying Act and the Lobbyist' Code of Conduct was initiated in November 2009. It involved interviews, a review of correspondence and other materials and an examination of Mr. Beardsley's work as a consultant with TNPA. In May 2010, I opened an investigation based upon information provided to me in an Administrative Review Report. I immediately referred this matter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in May 2010, as I had reasonable grounds to believe that a breach of the Lobbying Act had occurred.

In November 2010, the file was returned to my Office by the RCMP, with an indication that no charges would be laid in the matter. I determined that I had sufficient grounds to continue with a Lobbyist' Code of Conduct investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, Mr. Beardsley was provided with an opportunity to present his views and, after considering his comments, I prepared this Report to Parliament.

Conclusions

In this Report, I conclude that Mr. Beardsley attempted to arrange a meeting with a public office holder on behalf of a client that was paying for his services. As a result, he engaged in registrable lobbying activity under subsection 5(1) of the Lobbying Act. However, as a former designated public office holder, he was prohibited from engaging in lobbying activities requiring registration as a consultant lobbyist at the time. Section 10.3 of the Lobbying Act provides that persons who are required to register under the Act are subject to the Lobbyist' Code of Conduct. I have concluded that Mr. Beardsley was in breach of the Principle of Professionalism in the Lobbyist' Code of Conduct as a result of his actions.