Thursday, January 19, 2006

Canadian MP threatens to sue Michael Geist

Canadian MP, Sam Bulte, who has received campaign funding from entertainment industry lobbyists and pushed for copyright reforms, has threatened to sue law professor, Michael Geist. The MP is on record as saying

"I am not taking money from special interest groups. As you know, you can look at my returns. All of my election returns are noted, they are transparent. Ninety percent of my donations came from individuals. Ten percent came from organizations or corporations. They are not hosting a fundraiser for me. A fundraiser is being held. Individuals are invited. Everyone is invited. It is self-funding. And yes, there will be artists there. It will be a celebation of my support for the arts community."

Geist analysises these claims:

"Let me address each claim in turn. First, Bulte says she is not taking money from special interest groups. As I documented earlier this month, Bulte has accepted contributions from a long list of copyright associations and collectives, so her claim would only be truthful if she is no longer taking their money. However, given that the leaders of the copyright lobby associations are hosting the fundraiser and providing the entertainment, that does not appear to be a supportable claim.

Second, Bulte says that 90 percent of her donations came from individuals on her last return. This is simply false. Her 2004 riding association return posted on the Elections Canada site shows contributions of $67,737 (the fifth largest total among Ontario Liberals). That amount breaks down as $38,789 from individuals (57 percent), 19,848 from corporations (29 percent), and $9,100 from trade unions (13 percent), which include several copyright collectives.

Third, Bulte indeed stated that "they are not hosting a fundraiser for me." Again, looking at her website and the registration form this does not stand up to even minimal scrutiny."

It's good to see a respected academic having a serious impact on an election campaign.

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