01 October 2009

Anderson cops to 90K; Walsh files for bankruptcy

Another spending scandal player has copped a plea.

Wally Anderson, the former Liberal member for Torngat Mountains admitted to fraudulently receiving about $90,000.  That’s a fraction of the total he was accused of obtaining and there is no admission he engaged in bribery like former Tory cabinet minister Ed Byrne.

There’s another difference.  Anderson claims he never pocketed any of the cash himself.  Byrne funded his party with the illegal gains in addition to funnelling the money to his own benefit.

Anderson will be sentenced on Friday.  The Crown is seeking up to two years less a day, a sentence on par with the Byrne plea agreement.  The Crown’s rationale for sentencing is interesting:

"Mr. Andersen is clearly a respected individual in the area he represented," said lawyer Frances Knickle. "But that's what makes this so troubling. We are not talking about a crime of impulse but something that was done deliberately over many years."

That’s interesting because in Byrne’s case, he was the leader of the party and leader of the opposition at the time of the crimes. Some of his activity involved illegally funded his party, and the scope of Byrne’s illegal activity isn’t known.  How much money was directed to his party simply hasn’t been revealed and may never be known.

Meanwhile, former Liberal cabinet minister Jim Walsh  - another one of the spending  scandal accused - has filed for bankruptcy in an Alberta court.  Walsh apparently now resides in Alberta.  Bankruptcy would frustrate efforts to recover any of the money in the event Walsh is found guilty.

During his trial, Walsh has acknowledged receiving thousands more than permitted by his allowance limits but is claiming he isn’t responsible.

His trial continues in November.