Mike Duffy Senate scandal moves closer to Stephen Harper: Walkom
For Stephen Harper, the Senate spending scandal is like a bad smell. No matter how much the government tries to fumigate, it never goes away.
That Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, is now officially under RCMP investigation for bribery and breach of trust brings the controversy even closer to the prime minister.
On the face of it, the latest information released by the RCMP — a summary of interviews and emails provided to a judge in order to obtain warrants — should give Harper solace.
Corporal Greg Horton, the Mountie charged with drawing up the summary, says he has found no evidence that the prime minister was involved in “the minutiae” of what the RCMP alleges was an illegal attempt to solve the nagging political problem of Senator Mike Duffy’s dubious expense claims.
Horton also says that, contrary to what Duffy has claimed, there is no evidence that Harper pressed to have his Conservative Party pay Duffy’s legal bills.
So far, the Mounties have alleged that two people involved the Duffy affair broke the law: Wright by offering a bribe and Duffy by accepting it.
But the emails and interview summaries contained in the 81-page document and its six appendices also paint a picture of a prime minister very much concerned with the broad strokes of the Duffy imbroglio.
In one email, dated Feb. 22 of this year, Wright notes that he just received permission from Harper to go ahead with a deal that would see Duffy repay thousands of dollars in housing and living expenses he had charged to the public purse — in exchange for assurances that a Senate audit committee would go easy on him. (Source: Toronto Star)