Monday, May 5, 2008

The crime: embarrassing politicians

The Sunday Times of Western Australia ran a story revealing that the state government planned to use taxpayer funds as part of its reelection effort. So police raided the paper to find the source of the leak.

The department of Premier Alan Carpenter, a former journalist, admitted today making a complaint that led to the raid by 16 officers on the Perth newsroom of News Ltd's Sunday Times yesterday.

The fraud squad officers were trying to find who leaked information about a $16 million advertising bill for taxpayers to help get the WA government re-elected.

During the raid all exits at the Sunday Times building in Perth's inner-east were blocked and staff were subjected to bag searches when they left.

The article, written by staff reporter Paul Lampathakis and published in February, quoted "government sources'' as saying the money was to be spent on strategic advertising campaigns ahead of an upcoming election.

It said Treasurer Eric Ripper, as chairman of the cabinet sub-committee on communication, had "urgently'' asked the expenditure review committee, which he chaired, for $5.25 million for the first half of the year and a further $10.75 million until July next year.

A search warrant executed by police was for documents relating to information held by Sunday Times employees about the investigation, including notes, scribblings and computer and phone records.

Don't anybody pass this story along to the White House.

Thanks to Anonymous, who pointed the way to this story in the comments to the latest Joe Arpaio post.

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