|

RCMP Documents Suggest Harper’s Staff, Top Senators Colluded To Whitewash Duffy Report

OTTAWA – The prime minister’s chiefof staff went to Stephen Harper forapproval of a secret plan that would haveseen the Conservative party repay MikeDuffy’s contested expenses and whitewasha Senate report, new RCMP documentssuggest.Canadian Press reported that when theparty balked at the ultimate total ofDuffy’s $90,000 bill, however, NigelWright stepped in to pay the bill himself— apparently without Harper’s knowledge.Harper has called that a “deception.”But emails included in Wednesday’sexplosive new RCMP court filings quoteWright as getting a green light fromHarper when the original plan was tohave the party pay. The plan was to bekept entirely secret.“I do want to speak to the PM beforeeverything is considered final,” Wrightwrote in one February dispatch.An hour later, he followed up: “We aregood to go from the PM…”Asked late Wednesday whether the primeminister was asked in February toapprove such a plan, Jason MacDonald, aspokeman for Harper, offered a onewordanswer: “No.”The 80-page court filing provides anunprecedented look into the months ofdiscussions that took place inside thePrime Minister’s Office and the Senateon how to deal with the Duffy problem.In several cases, the documents illustratesenators and staff clashing or badmouthingeach other behind the scenesas Stephen Harper’s office intervenesdirectly in an effort to manipulate theactivities of Senate committees.RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton alleges seniorConservatives went to great lengths toagree to Duffy’s list of demands toensure he would say publicly he hadrepaid his living claims, thus making apolitical headache go away.Email chains and details from policeinterviews also make clear exactly whowas in the loop about the $90,000 paymentfrom Wright: at least sixConservatives, including the party’s formerexecutive director.That contrasts with the claims made inthe House of Commons this spring thatno one else was aware of the plan, andthat there were no documents related tothe matter. The Mounties say they havefound no evidence that the prime ministerknew specifically about the $90,000payment. However, there are suggestionsin the file he might have known aboutother elements of the plan: “The PMknows, in broad terms only, that I personallyassisted Duffy when I was gettinghim to agree to repay the expenses.”When asked during questionperiod what he told Wright he“was good to go on” inFebruary, Harper said it wasabout Duffy repaying his ownexpenses. The documents indicatethat for the first time, theRCMP is lodging a direct allegationagainst Wright. Hortonalleges Wright’s agreement withDuffy constitutes fraud andbreach of trust because hisoffice was used “for a dishonestpurpose, other than for thepublic good.” No charges havebeen laid against either Wrightor Duffy.

Comments are closed