Thursday, October 22, 2009

Raitt ethics investigation update

Further to Runesmith's post on this little article in the Milton press, "Raitt to refrain from contact with lobbyist," it's worth a look at a few of the items reported there. The lobbyist in question is alleged to have been instrumental in holding a fundraiser for Minister Lisa Raitt, organized out of the federal agency, the Toronto Port Authority. The Ethics (and Privacy) Commissioner is now investigating the issue. Raitt has signed a compliance order as a result.

Of interest in the report:
  • the conflict of interest situation arises because McSweeney's cement association has lobbied Raitt and the government nine times over the past year.
  • the fundraiser occurred on September 24th and "According to the federal lobbyist registry, the CAC communicated with Raitt on September 24 on the subjects of energy and the environment."
  • there is a question about whether Raitt knew of or approved of lobbyist McSweeney's fundraiser for her that the Ethics Commissioner would probably be looking at:
    "Halton Conservative Association (HCA) President John Challinor has said McSweeney was an individual volunteer who sold tickets for the fundraiser and that Raitt was unaware of his involvement."
Seems to be a bit of synchronicity in the news these days on the subject of Conservatives and their fundraisers. Similar difficulties have presented themselves in the Housakos conflict of interest allegations, with the mixing of government contract winners at a Montreal Conservative fundraiser organized by Housakos.

Until next time on the Raitt update watch...which should be, as things are going, within about 48 hours or so...