Sunday, March 01, 2009

BC Legislature Raid lobbyists whose offices searched in 2003 sent personal "Dear Allan" email to Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel in April 2005

Lobbyists sent e-mail to deputy AG

24 Hours Exclusive


B.C.'s Deputy Attorney General was directly contacted by his first name in a 2005 e-mail from two lobbyists whose offices were searched by police in the B.C. Rail corruption investigation during the police raid on the B.C. Legislature in 2003, confidential government documents reveal.

Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel received an e-mail - addressed "Dear Allan" - on April 30, 2005 from Jamie Elmhirst, a lobbyist who was partners with key Crown witnesses Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran.

Police searched Pilothouse Public Affairs offices in December 2003 before corruption charges were laid against government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi in 2004.

New Democratic Party MLA Leonard Krog, whose B.C. Supreme Court application made 8,000 pages of government documents public, calls the e-mail "very concerning."

Shawn Robins, Attorney General's ministry spokesperson, said Seckel "might know Jamie Elmhirst and he might have met Brian Kieran" but that there was no relationship with them.

"Other than to say that they're entitled to reach out to deputy ministers, it's just a pro forma business contact," said Robins. "They probably had a list of deputy ministers and sent it to them."

Kieran and Bornmann are alleged in court documents to have provided money to David Basi and Virk, two ex-ministerial assistants charged with allegedly leaking confidential government information on the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail to Pilothouse, which was retained by losing bidder OmniTRAX.

Neither Bornmann, Kieran, Elmhirst nor OmniTRAX face any charges.

Elmhirst wrote Seckel to tell him that he and Kieran were "proud to announce a re-branding our public affairs partnership" and ask Seckel to "update your contact records." The next five pages of documents are blanked.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett ordered Wednesday that the NDP, media and public have access to confidential documents obtained by defence counsel through Freedom Of Information requests.

24 hours was the only media outlet to access them Friday, the first day they were available, at the court.



Anonymous said...

If ever the Grit motto . . . "WE ONLY CHEAT WHEN WE CAN'T WIN" it is proven with this hyper-cynical approach to lobbying and influence peddling.


BC Mary said...

Nice work, Bill. Many thanks!

Would you mind telling us why no other media is accessing the 8,000 words (if I understood you correctly)?

Are they turning their faces away from the evidence?

Can't afford photocopying?

Assigned elsewhere?

I can't figure this, 4 days after this material has become available to the public as well as the NDP.


Anonymous said...

The NDP are truly deserve a bouquet for this work. I trust that there will be more information to come.

Fascinating look at the inner workings of the Campbell government.

RossK said...


Bill mentioned on the Goodship this a.m. that you aren't allowed to can only take notes.

How's that for full public access!



Anonymous said...

Very good work Bill!

Can you please explain in plain language what "might know" and "might have" - means to us mere mortals?? Is the Deputy experiencing selective amnesia? It must have been a close relationship to refer to the Deputy AG as "dear Alan".

Anonymous said...

My god, Sherlock Holmes found a mail merged spam message from Pilothouse! Break out the Pulitzer!

Anonymous said...

BC Mary wrote:

"Would you mind telling us why no other media is accessing the 8,000 words"

It is clear why canwest is not covering it but this is a good question to pose to the cbc.

I'm very interested in why you may think the cbc is steering clear of the legislature raids - is there a threat of litigation?

Anonymous said...

So the Tyee headline earlier today was that a bombshell was about to be dropped by Mr. Tieleman.

So we have read through 8,000 pages of explosive documents and the best we can find is that a DM is spammed 2 years AFTER the incident in question.

If the remainder of the email was anything other than routine correspondance then certainly it would have also been posted.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for the comments - including those from BC Liberal apologists - you are welcome nonetheless!

To answer questions posed:

- I can't explain the media absence on this one to any real degree. I went to the Criminal Court Registry on Thursday morning to ask how to access the documents. I was told no discussion had taken place with Justice Bennett. I left my card and later that day was told by phone that the documents would be made available Friday.

- No one can photocopy anything - except the NDP - until making an application in court to Justice Bennett, copied to all lawyers involved, including BC Rail, BC government, defence and Special Prosecutor, and having it decided by her.

- As to the importance of the email from Jamie Elmhirst and Brian Kieran, read my column Tuesday for more on this - but obviously my editors at 24 hours thought it important enough to be the front page lead story.

- CBC has been far less interested in this story than CanWest Global however, who have covered it in significant detail. Neal Hall of the Sun and Keith Fraser of the Province have regularly been in court - CBC has not.

RossK said...

Regarding potential significance....

Here's an interesting exchange between Opposition Leader James and Premier Campbell from May 2007:

C. James: I certainly would expect that the Premier's office will be involved in deciding documents to go forward and not go forward. We've heard discussion previously about cabinet confidentiality and other questions that sometimes come up.

My question would be to the Premier. Will he commit to releasing documents without invoking privilege?

Hon. G. Campbell: Again, I would go back and say that obviously there are issues with regard to cabinet confidentiality that must be and would be considered in these issues. Having said that, my goal and the objective of the government throughout has been to proceed with an unfettered and, frankly, independent process.

There's a special prosecutor in place, and I will not be involved in those discussions. That has been delegated to the Deputy Attorney General, and he will make those decisions as he sees fit.


Just who might that DAG have been?

Well, I figure Mr. T. is going to tell us tomorrow.

(and/or maybe we already know)

And I was pretty sure I could hear the cat that had just swallowed a canary silently chewing when Mr. Spector babbled on about the irrelevance of it all on the Giant'98 this morning....


Anonymous said...

The opposition led by Krog had a great time in the house today dumping on Stone Wally. Wally said the usual, not much. Wonder when the next little gem will be dropped? Krog says they are public documents so tune in tomorrow.