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Kinsella 'kin' fined for lobbying violation

A lobbyist connected to longtime BC Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella was fined $700 for not filing a return within 10 days of beginning to lobby for a client.

Cynthia (Shore) Burton received the fine in a March 14 decision by Tim Mots, which was upheld June 6 by B.C.'s Registrar of Lobbyists Elizabeth Denham.

"I accept Ms. Shore's assertion that she was not actually lobbying on May 1, 2013. However this does not relieve her from her obligations under the [Lobbyists' Registration Act]," Denham wrote. "That section is not focussed on actual lobbying but rather on the need to file a return 'within 10 days after entering into an undertaking to lobby on behalf of a client.' Ms. Shore failed to do this and therefore failed to comply with the LRA."

Burton had filed a return on June 25, 2013 for MWH Business Solutions, a Colorado-based company involved in engineering, construction and management of hydroelectric, mining and transportation. The commencement date of her work was May 1, 2013, according to the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists' decision.

The registrar began an investigation July 12, 2013. Four days later, Burton responded and confirmed that she started on the file in May 2013, after the provincial election. The acting deputy registrar filed notice that he "formed the belief" that Burton failed to file a return within 10 days of entering into an undertaking to lobby.

"In her response to the alleged contravention, the lobbyist refers to the fact that the Progressive Group had previously registered a return after entering into an undertaking with the client," said the original decision. "The lobbyist states that she had only been added to the file after a previous lobbyist had withdrawn from the registration. The lobbyist indicates that she had no intention to lobby at the time."

A previous lobbyist on the registration was Kinsella.

The decision found that there was no evidence that the contravention was deliberate or that Burton derived any economic benefit from the contravention, but "the lobbyist did not make any effort to report or correct the contravention. It was the [registrar] who brought the alleged contravention to the attention of the lobbyist."

The original penalty was payable by April 25. The deadline was extended to July 21, according to the June 6 reconsideration by Denham.

Shore's only current registration, which runs through July 14, 2015, is for Rabanco Ltd., a Seattle-based landfill operator and recycler.

Kinsella was deeply involved in B.C. politics since the 1980s, most notably as an advisor to Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark. He held a nearly $300,000 contract with BC Rail while the company was being privatized in 2003.

Kinsella's Shaughnessy house sold in 2013 and he moved to Arizona. He had been registered to lobby for a variety of clients, such as Pacific Western Brewing, Mark Anthony Group, Great Canadian Gaming and Exel Logistics. He attended Premier Christy Clark's annual BC Liberal Party fundraiser in Vancouver on June 11.

Vancouver journalist Bob Mackin is a frequent contributor to The Tyee.

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