For those who have been regular readers of this space know that I’ve had a fair bit to say about the dishonourable Senator from Northwestern Ontario Lynn Beyak. It seemed that her awful story of ignorance, unwillingness to give a fulsome apology and her attempts to save her Senate seat while avoiding taking any responsibility for her actions might have come to an end. Back in June was the last time I wrote about her, talking about her unacceptable apology as she tried to save her seat in the Red Chamber.
After that time, things went quiet on the Beyak front and honestly, that was one of the highlights of my summer. To not have to talk about her misdeeds was good, as it felt like she might finally be fading into background and out of the spotlight of Canadian politics. But today she sprung back onto the scene, thanks to an interesting story from Justin Ling printed by Vice Canada. Beyak is back, and it looks like she’s taking things international, in a way that raises a few interesting questions all its own:
Yep, it shouldn’t come as a shocker that Beyak is a Trump supporter, that part really fits everything we know. The fact that she might have wanted to give his campaign money probably wouldn’t shock either, but as she should have known (or figured out quickly) is that it’s illegal for non-American citizens to give money to American campaigns. Given that she ran for political office a few times and lost before getting her plum patronage appointment to the Senate, she should have been familiar with the concept of citizens of foreign nations not being able to give money because it’s the same law here in Canada.
Of course Beyak has come out with a weak excuse that just adds more fuel to this dumpster fire. Her Senate office is quoted in the piece stating that it was her who did it and “a donation was made in error”. But there is a problem with that excuse, which becomes pretty clear when you read this except from the story:
“In early May, Senator Lynn Beyak made a $300 contribution to the Republican National Committee, per a publicly-available Federal Electoral Commission filing. Beyak listed their profession as ‘retired,’ and their mailing address as a post office box on Davis Point Road, in Dryden, New York.
But the address and zip code do not point to any actual location in the state. There is a town of Dryden in New York, but no Lynn Beyak resides there.
There is, however, a Davis Point Road near Dryden, Ontario. A phonebook listing, that matches the street address from the GOP donation receipt, corresponds to Lynn Beyak, a sitting member of the Canadian Senate. The postal code from Beyak’s Elections Canada donation records also correspond to the address on Davis Point Road.”Source: Vice News
Look everyone, it’s one thing to make an honest mistake, that does happen. Yet normally when you make such a mistake, you don’t put in a false address. The fact that she couldn’t make a donation with her legitimate address, because the website wouldn’t accept an Ontario one, should have been all she needed to know that she couldn’t donate or at least should have triggered her to ask a few questions and see why she couldn’t.
Yet instead of taking that piece of information and walking away, she put in an address, with a fake zip code, which she had to know wasn’t legit. Dryden, New York is very, very far from Dryden, Ontario, and it’s not like she chose a community just across the border in Minnesota, so there seems to have been some thought given to this. That is the kind of act that takes you away from making a simple mistake, and puts you towards something that could be more nefarious. And in doing so, this Senator has gone from simply making ignorant statement to possibly having broken American election finance laws, if it were to be prosecuted. Quite the leap if you ask me.
But there is another wrinkle in this story that opens up another possible pandoras box. As the Vice piece notes, this apparently illegal donation was reported to the Federal Election Commission in the US and is still sitting up on their website. Don’t believe me? Here’s a screen shot of it:
Yep, that’s pretty clear evidence. But here is the pandoras box part of this story that raises some interesting questions elsewhere. Not only did Beyak appear to make an illegal monetary donation, but the Republican National Committee also appears to have accepted an illegal monetary donation from a foreign national, who just happens to be a politician sitting in a foreign Parliament even though she is suspended. She’s not “retired” as her donation above indicated, unless that’s her own backhanded way of telling us that she’s finally resigning her seat. Of course, the jokes about a Senator saying she is actually “retired” do write themselves and I invite you to do that.
In the meantime, not only has Senator Beyak managed to break new low ground by appearing to break election law in another country, but it also raises legit questions about how many other foreign nationals might have done similar things as her. That, of course, raises all kinds of new questions about Trump’s foreign entanglements and swampy behaviour. What a way to show the candidate you back support, to open them up to even more questions of potential illegalities and corrupt behaviour.
So while Senator Beyak has been our shame in Northwestern Ontario for a while now, she has now managed to make an issue of herself on the international scene. 2020 man, it keeps bringing the twists. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing if this senator’s “accidental” donation draws enough attention to that pandora’s box she stumbled into, and if she is not alone in doing what she appears to have done. Either way, it’s another twist in this story, just one that I don’t think many of us saw coming.