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Lobbyist watchdog fined aide to BC Premier Clark

The British Columbia registrar of lobbyists has fined a key aide to Premier Christy Clark for failing to comply with the province's lobbying law.

Ben Chin, the executive director of Clark's communications and issues management office, was fined $500 after he failed to de-register as a lobbyist within the allowed deadline. The law allows 30 days to de-register, but it took Chin seven months, according to a report from the registrar's office.

"I screwed up and had to pay a fine," said Chin, adding that it was embarrassing and that he has already paid the fine. "It was an oversight on my part."

Chin had registered to lobby BC Hydro regarding a credit card loyalty program, Loyalty One/AirMiles for Social Change, as part of a national effort. When he took the job with Clark's office in 2012 he got busy and neglected to de-register, he said.

At first he said he thought updating the registry wasn't a big deal, but staff in the registrar's office explained that the goal is for the registry to be accurate. "It's protecting the integrity of the registry," he said. "They take it very seriously."

Chin said he was sorry to have taken up the time of investigators. "It's my own damn fault."

In an unrelated case, the registrar also fined lawyer Brenda Swick $700 for failing within the deadline to remove a colleague from a registration upon which the colleague was no longer working.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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