Harper's Chief of Staff cuts Duffy $90,000 personal cheque to repay housing allowance

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jerrym
Harper's Chief of Staff cuts Duffy $90,000 personal cheque to repay housing allowance

A major new scandal involving Senator Duffy is brewing. The federal Ethics Officer is investigating. The Cons are claiming that Nigel Wright was doing the 'honourable thing' by helping Duffy repay his housing allowance, but if this was so honourable why weren't the Cons bragging about it before it became public?

Quote:

The Senate housing allowance scandal intensified Wednesday after the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Stephen Harper's right-hand man gifted $90,000 to Sen. Mike Duffy to pay back inappropriate expense claims.

While there is nothing illegal about Nigel Wright's largesse, Duffy is obligated under Senate ethics guidelines to disclose gifts valued at more than $500.

The former television host wouldn't comment Wednesday.

http://www.torontosun.com/2013/05/15/mike-duffy-given-90k-by-nigel-wrigh...

jerrym

Quote:

It is not expected that the money will be repaid to Wright. Conservative Party spokesman Fred DeLorey told CBC News that the party has not reimbursed Wright for his payment. Earlier in the day he had confirmed that the party had not covered Duffy's expenses.

"We didn't pay any of the money he reimbursed for living expenses," DeLorey said in an email. "No party money involved in any way," he said in another email.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/05/15/pol-duffy-senate-deal.html

If you believe this, you'll believe anything. 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

If you can think of a better way to pay back Mike Duffy for his years of service I would like to hear it.

jerrym

I have no faith in Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson based on her past record, but I think most people will see the scandal clearly without her.

jerrym

Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch tweets 

Quote:

Wright's gift to Duffy is wrong, violates ethics ruleshttp://t.co/gqWTDtXiHt Call for change http://t.co/hzwxrU3tvJ#cdnpoli #Senate

jerrym

Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Was it appropriate for P.M.'s Chief of Staff to give Duffy $90K?

Yes 96%

No 3%

Not sure 1%

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/inside-politics-blog/2013/05/power-polit...

onlinediscountanvils

jerrym wrote:

Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Was it appropriate for P.M.'s Chief of Staff to give Duffy $90K?

Yes 96%

No 3%

Not sure 1%

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/inside-politics-blog/2013/05/power-polit...

Unless there's been a huge surge in 'Yes' votes in the last 5 minutes, I think you transposed the 96 and 3.

jerrym

You're right. Thanks. 

jerrym

CTV News is taking a much stronger line on this than Power and Politics.

Robert Fife calls the Senate report on Duffy's expenses a whitewash involving a secret deal while the Conservative-dominated Senate. To see his report click on

CTV News Channel: What rules were broken? at 

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/nigel-wright-wrote-personal-cheque-for-90...

Tyler Sommers of Democracy Watch says it will fille complaints against both Duffy an Wright for violating sections of conflict of interest acts. To watch his comments click on 

CTV News Channel: What rules were broken? at

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/nigel-wright-wrote-personal-cheque-for-90...

knownothing knownothing's picture

Hats off to Robert Fife

The man has been trying to single-handedly bring down the Senate

Watching him in this clip is like listening to a beautiful symphony

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=924812&playlistId=1.1277959&binId=1.8...

 

janfromthebruce

But the one man band will not win against the best political pork for the two corporate parties who get their rewards for ensuring that power and money stay safely ensconded with the priveleged.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

This is just plain wrong. But if the Libs were in this position, they wouldn't do the right thing either.

janfromthebruce

Well Art, the Libs have their own Liberal Senator, Mac Harb who is charged with overcharging on his residence expenses and is now Independent.

 

lagatta

As for Patrick Brazeau, he is refusing to comply: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/05/14/pol-brazeau-fights-orde...

jerrym

Now that allegations of coverup, as in the title of the following article, Duffy bailout by Harper’s chief of staff prompts allegations of coverup by PMO, are being brought forward, the scandal becomes even more serious for the Conservatives because it starts to look like a systemic problem (which of course it is) to the public rather than simply one or a few rogue Conservatives. In addition, it also becomes more difficult to keep all the lies in line, as is already happening with Duffy claiming that he got the money from the Royal Bank rather than Wright. Coverups have destroyed a lot more governments than the original problem.

Quote:

Less than a week after the Conservatives hailed Sen. Mike Duffy’s “leadership” in repaying $90,000 in improper housing expenses, it turns out the office of an entirely different leader made the bill go away. ...

The surprising transaction is raising questions about just how involved the Prime Minister’s Office might have been with an independent audit into Duffy’s expenses, and how they later portrayed that audit publicly.

The Senate’s conflict of interest code explicitly prohibits senators from accepting any gift that “could reasonably be considered to relate to the senator’s position.” The Senate ethics officer refused to comment on the matter Wednesday, despite the fact gifts are supposed to be publicly disclosed.

One government source, speaking on anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details publicly, said the transaction was a gift to help a friend in financial difficulty, and that Harper knew nothing about it.

But according to a CTV News report Wednesday night, Duffy appeared to contradict the PMO conformation in an email to the network in which he claimed he secured a loan to repay his expense claims.

“The Royal Bank helped me,“ Duffy reportedly wrote in the email. “I dealt with my bank personally. Nigel played no role.”

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus has called for a full investigation, saying the prospect of a $90,000 gift doesn’t pass the smell test.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/05/16/duffy-bailout-by-harpers-chief-of-sta...

 

DaveW

stop stop! it is all a big mixup;

 everything is quite above board, reports the Post correspondent after a lengthy investigation:

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/15/wealthy-chief-of-staff-who-gave-senator-90000-is-well-known-for-his-generosity-philanthropy/

 

 

 

Kara

Duffy appears to have double billed for some days he spent campaigning during the last election, not only claiming his per diem from the Senate (which is obviously inappropriate) but also billing the individual CPC campaigns for whom he was shilling.  On top of that, Duffy billed for his Senate per diem for 12 days while in Florida.  He and the CPC "brain" trust seem to have thought that by repaying some of the money, they could avoid cooperating with the auditors and cover-up the whole mess.  One cannot help but wonder what else would be uncovered if he actually provided the auditors with the required information.  On top of his well-earned reputation as a nasty partisan hack, he is showing himself clearly to be pretty stupid.

Also, one has to wonder how and / or why Duffy was supposedly unable to pay the $90,000 himself.  He had a long career in the media during which he was obviously making a very healthy salary.  Now, he has a cushy job as a reward for kissing CPC butt.  Yet, we are expected to believe he couldn't spare $90,000?  Puh-lease!  Either he has a vice of some sort or the $90,000 was hush money.  Duffy has always been a particularly nasty bully so I would expect the latter to be true.

Bacchus

Not disputing what you say about Duffy but its not unusual that he wouldnt have 90k in cash kicking around. Most people have it invested or in pensions or property etc. Sometimes it is hard to get a hold of cash quickly

Kara

I doubt that Wright had $90,000 sitting in a bank account garnering little interest, especially considering he is a successful business type.  Those types of people tend to use their connections and the information they gain from those connections to grow their money through investments because the one trait they all have in common is unrelenting greed.  It really does not take very long to liquidate some investments, usually only a day or two even for average schmoes like us - surely it's even easier for a public figure like Duffy.  The controversy arose in December (or thereabouts) and the repayment was in March.  Duffy had ample time to get together that amount of money, which may be a lot to most of us but which should be a pittance to him (unless he is completely stupid with his money), especially since the money that was repaid was not his salary but only a portion of his expenses.

Bacchus

Shrugs. No idea. It took over a week for the relatively simple task of collapsing a RSP for me to pay off bills. Some investments have incredibly hefty fees for early cash in or dont allow it at all.   And if it was msotly sunk in property then forget it, you are talking 6 months easy, minimum 90 days.

 

Im just saying it might not have been easy to do quickly, not that he couldnt do it at all

 

And if he told them it would take x amount of time to raise, Im sure they would have granted the time delay

 

Kara

I still do not buy it for a few reasons.  Firstly, we were able to withdraw $25,000 from investments in less than 24 hours to help out a relative with an emergency - no reason why Duffy who is most assuredly far wealthier and connected than us would have more problems than we did.  Secondly, if he had no investments to liquidate and had only property, getting a secured line of credit against his property would take very little time.  Finally, he had months to liquidate some assets, not hours or days, so I still don't buy financial difficulties as a reason. for the payoff.

Also, being unable to raise the funds still offers no explanation for why he did not report the supposed "gift" within the 30 days of receiving it, as is required.

Bacchus

Oh I agree with theres no explanation for not reporting it, my only disagreement is that getting ahold of a large amount of cash might not be quick. Thats all. 

Kara

I know that you weren't really defending Duffy - sorry if it sounded like I thought you were!  I think all we're really disputing is the amount of time he had to get come money together, which really isn't all that clear.  I tend to think he had weeks if not months to come up with some cash whereas you seem to interpret the information released so far as him having a very short period of time to raise cash.  Either way, we can probably agree that he should be in big trouble and (hopefully) the stench will spread to his beloved Cons.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

I would think that someone with a Senator's income, unless already financially over extended, could walk into any bank branch in Canada and get a $100K loan in less than a week. Perhaps Duffy actually does have a gambling addiction, or some other money sink, which has consumed his no doubt large earnings and put him in a precarious financial position.

jerrym

CBC is reporting that Senator Duffy submitted expense claims during the last election while Parliament was dissolved. At the same he reported was on Senate business on days he appeared to be campaigning for the party. I remember reading that other Conservative Senators, such as Pamela Wallin in Saskatchewan (although no allegations of billing expenses were made), were deeply involved in Conservative campaigning during the election. Olivia Chow has just said on Power and Politics that this type of campaigning by Senator "is not very ethical'. This expense billing of the Senate while campaigning could be more widespread than we have seen so far. Specific dates and expense claims for Duffy are given at the CBC thread below.

Duffy has not yet declared the gift on the Senate ethics office's website. NDP MP Charlie Angus "added that Senators are prohibited from receiving gifts other than those given as normal courtesy. Under the Senate Conflict of Interest Code, all gifts over $500 must be reported within 30 days."

(http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ndp-calls-for-ethics-probe-into-sen-duffy-s...)

Since "Mr. Wright wrote a personal cheque for more than $90,000 to Sen. Duffy the money after negotiations last February", Duffy is clearly in violation of the 30 day reporting rule. 

(http://www.hilltimes.com/news/politics/2013/05/16/duffy-scandal-senate-e...)

Quote:

The full extent of Duffy's Senate expenses during the writ period remains a mystery — the Conservative government is refusing to reveal the full breakdown of the senator's claims and his repayment of $90,172.24.

But independent auditors at the firm Deloitte listed Duffy as being in Ottawa on Senate business and claiming a daily expense for seven days in April 2011, a month that was dominated by campaigning for the May 2 vote.

He was also listed as being on Senate business at an "other location" on another six days. Using cellphone records, Deloitte managed to catch one inappropriate "other location" claim from 2012 while Duffy was in Florida.

But the auditors said they remained in the dark about whether taxpayers paid his expenses on many other days, since Duffy failed to fully disclose his activities and records.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/05/16/pol-duffy-expenses-doub...

 

janfromthebruce

It doesn't matter - both Libs and Cons use the upper house as their cash cow so to speak. Get rid of that pork fest place.

jerrym

janfromthebruce wrote:

It doesn't matter - both Libs and Cons use the upper house as their cash cow so to speak. Get rid of that pork fest place.

This kind of systemic scandal provides evidence that can be used in the future to demonstrate that the Senate once again is an unreformable house of patronage and therefore should be abolished. 

janfromthebruce

Oh, here we go - Sponsorship scandal - 100 million bucks later.

Oh those libs.

jerrym

CBC News is now reporting that Senator Duffy has resigned from the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent, just like Brazeau, but Haper says that he still has full confidence in Wright. Those who follow sports know votes of confidence often have a very short shelf life, if the team's problems continue. As noted above, Olivia Chow has pointed out today and the NDP complained earlier about many Conservative senators engaging in political campaigning on the taxpayer's dime during the 2011 election. On CTV, Craig Oliver said this kind of political use of Senators has been going on since Confederation. It's another reason to abolish the Senate. 

onlinediscountanvils

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2013/05/16/pol-senator-mike-d... quits Tory caucus[/url]

[cross-posted with jerrym]

jerrym

On At Issue on CBC News, Bruce Andrews said that he had talked to many Conservatives and not one of them was comfortable with this. He also said that it will be a sad day for democracy in Canada if this is no longer a news item in a few days.

Andrew Coyne said that Duffy was brought into the Senate to do the kind of campaigning he did on the taxpayer's dime. He also said what Wright did isn't even done by politicians in hick towns.

Rex Murphy said that like Chris Hadfield was in outer space and so were Duffy and Wright with their explanations. The difference is that Hadfield has come back to Earth. 

If this is what your political friends are saying about you, you know have a big problem.

janfromthebruce

Except that 3 billion bucks when missing and we are all focussed on 90 grand pork. So Duffy has proven to be "very useful" again as cover for the bigger scam.

Probably Wright didn't really pay but the Con  party paid and Wright just wrote the cheque.

jerrym

janfromthebruce wrote:

Except that 3 billion bucks when missing and we are all focussed on 90 grand pork. So Duffy has proven to be "very useful" again as cover for the bigger scam.

Probably Wright didn't really pay but the Con  party paid and Wright just wrote the cheque.

The difference is that the 3 billion can likely be bafflegabbed away with ad nauseum accounting details. Nothing about Duffy's problems smells right even with their base. When your political friends start ridiculing over your cover story, as in the CBC At Issue discussion, you're deep into the political doo-doo.

knownothing knownothing's picture

janfromthebruce wrote:

But the one man band will not win against the best political pork for the two corporate parties who get their rewards for ensuring that power and money stay safely ensconded with the priveleged.

I'd say considering the fact that he has been releasing new evidence every day leading to bigger scandals suggests that Bob Fife, with the help of the NDP, Democracy Watch, and anyone else just might be able to bring them down

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxYEIMZBrhI

bekayne

jerrym wrote:

On At Issue on CBC News, Bruce Andrews said that he had talked to many Conservatives and not one of them was comfortable with this. He also said that it will be a sad day for democracy in Canada if this is no longer a news item in a few days.

Andrew Coyne said that Duffy was brought into the Senate to do the kind of campaigning he did on the taxpayer's dime. He also said what Wright did isn't even done by politicians in hick towns.

Rex Murphy said that like Chris Hadfield was in outer space and so were Duffy and Wright with their explanations. The difference is that Hadfield has come back to Earth. 

If this is what your political friends are saying about you, you know have a big problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkyDTzVfWZQ

Slumberjack

jerrym wrote:
On At Issue on CBC News, Bruce Andrews said that he had talked to many Conservatives and not one of them was comfortable with this.

They're not comfortable with the exposure is what it's all about.  The story grew legs so Duffy simply had to go.  Otherwise, they're demonstrably at ease with all sorts of criminality among their own kind.

Brachina
jerrym

Slumberjack wrote:

jerrym wrote:
On At Issue on CBC News, Bruce Andrews said that he had talked to many Conservatives and not one of them was comfortable with this.

They're not comfortable with the exposure is what it's all about.  The story grew legs so Duffy simply had to go.  Otherwise, they're demonstrably at ease with all sorts of criminality among their own kind.

I have no illusions about why they are doing it. The fact remains that when political friends start ridiculing you rather than offering mild criticism it's because they are jumping what they think is a ship in danger of sinking, even if it's only to save their own hides. 

janfromthebruce

Sj is right - it's about getting caught that is the problem but not the actual dirty deed. Hence why the libs are going after Duffy and remaining silent about Hab, the Liberal who scammed 100 grand. That is bigger than Duff's 90 grand. So Hab the lib fades to the background.

And the robocalls scandal had legs too when it came out but as time goes by we see it fade from view. I'm hoping that the only thing good that comes out of it is that the senate gets abolished but I'm holding my breath.

Liberals like the House of pork for their own use, just like the Cons.

jerrym

janfromthebruce wrote:

Sj is right - it's about getting caught that is the problem but not the actual dirty deed. Hence why the libs are going after Duffy and remaining silent about Hab, the Liberal who scammed 100 grand. That is bigger than Duff's 90 grand. So Hab the lib fades to the background.

And the robocalls scandal had legs too when it came out but as time goes by we see it fade from view. I'm hoping that the only thing good that comes out of it is that the senate gets abolished but I'm holding my breath.

Liberals like the House of pork for their own use, just like the Cons.

It's not the amount of money. It's the fact that in the case of Duffy there is evidence of a coverup, meaning that it is obvious to even the casual voter that the Duffy situation is systemic and extends to the PM's Office and probably in their minds the PM. There is a systemic problem with corruption in the Senate but most people already think it is useless and dont pay much heed to it. 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

The Senate is a dry, tired, antiquated, corrupt, irrelevant, useless den of patronage and privillege that has to go now!

janfromthebruce

Duffy’s grasping, pathetic and contradictory account of his conduct has erased all trace of his once avuncular image, revealing a portrait of avarice, entitlement and indignity. He has become a living attack ad against the Upper Chamber. A sixty-six year old poster boy for Senate abolition.

Yeah, so let's make sure Duffy stays there because he is the poster boy for the only party who wants the house of pork to go!

Column: Nigel Wright was only doing his job, which is why he now has to go

But I have to laugh because the article was penned by the former communications person for Paul Martin, PM Liberal of the Sponsorship Scandal fame, and oh Reid's foot in mouth comment "beer and popcorn".

So we have libs going after cons for improper political conduct - ha ha ha!

janfromthebruce

Walkom driving it home: Canadian Senate problems go far beyond Mike Duffy: Walkom

 

First, senators routinely mix party and parliamentary business. Indeed, successive Liberal and Conservative prime ministers have elevated party strategists and bagmen to the upper chamber precisely so they can continue their partisan wizardry.

The late Keith Davey masterminded the Liberal election campaigns of both Pierre Trudeau and John Turner from his perch in the Senate. Irving Gerstein, appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009, openly continued his work as the Conservative Party’s chief fundraiser. There are more examples.

SNIP

But the real scandal is that he — and others — are appointed to the Senate precisely so they can work for their parties at public expense. Yell

SNIP

He was appointed because, in Canadian terms, he was a celebrity — a television personality who could travel the country to motivate Conservative voters and raise money for the party. His job was to be part of Harper’s permanent election campaign.

SNIP

Here too, I expect Duffy is not the only transgressor — which is why senators from both sides of the floor are so reluctant to address the question of residency. [Walkom needed to to distinguish that both sides of the floor is the cons & libs]

SNIP

Keep all of this in mind as Duffy is drawn and quartered. Yes, he probably deserves opprobrium. But turfing him from the upper house will not solve the problem. There is a bigger story at play here.

 

jerrym

A retired parliamentary law clerk has called the position Harper's Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, untenable and that the public has the right to ask what was the quid pro quo for the $90,000 gift. He said individuals involved in politics cannot simply pay to make political problems go away.

Fidel

I can see it all now. A large majority of Canadians not so jaded as to refrain from voting will vote against this corrupt and unaccountable government.

jerrym

Pamela Wallin has just recused herself from the Conservative caucus over the Senate audit according to CTV News. Craig Oliver said he wondered when her name would come up. I mentioned in a previous post that she had done a good deal of campaigning for the Cons in Saskatchewan during the 2011 election. I wonder if she was also double billing for Senate business and party campaign work. 

Oliver also said there was never any question of the taxpayers paying Duffy's fine as the Conservative Leader in the Senate, Marjorie LeBreton, said the money would be garinsheed from the Senate salaries. Therefore, in his opinion, it was riduculous to claim that Wright paid this off the $90,000 to save taxpayers money, thereby shooting down this Conservative claim.

Friday afternoons are always the time chosen for negative news in the Con world. There hoping this will die down somewhat on the weekend. No chance, especially with the House of Commons in session next week. 

jerrym

Rob Russo, Ottawa bureau chief of Canadian Press, has just reported on Power and Politics that he has been told that Harper ordered Wallin to recuse herself from the party. The plot thickens. 

jerrym

Power and Politics Ballot Box Question May 17

Should Mike Duffy give up his Senate seat?

Yes 97%

No 2%

Not Sure 1%

Of course, he will hang on to his seat with the grip of a drowning man, but it is clear that Canadians are upset with this corruption. 

 

Brachina

They can hate it all they want, but as far I know you can't force him to resign from the Senate.

The only way the tories will get him out is to buy him outm

janfromthebruce

Damning findings removed from Sen. Mike Duffy’s audit report: documents
Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/damning-findings-removed-from-sen-mike-duffy-s-audit-report-documents-1.1286005#ixzz2Te4y2sUw

The Senate’s internal economy committee sanitized the original audit of Sen. Mike Duffy’s expenses to remove damning findings, documents obtained by CTV News show.

A confidential report obtained by CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife shows the original version of Duffy’s audit found that the senator broke the Senate’s “very clear” and “unambiguous” residency rules.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first try to deceive....

The report also reveals that Duffy’s lawyers sought to have him exempted from the forensic audit.

All of that was missing from the rewritten audit report that was tabled in the Senate and made public.

Sources say the whitewash was part of a backroom deal with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright.

Inside plumbing job by the Senate

janfromthebruce

Some Babblers have asked why the NDP is not asking questions. Well they are and finally the media is reporting it.

Mike Duffy scandal: New Democrats smell blood

New Democrats want all records related to Mike Duffy's expenses made public in light of allegations he billed taxpayers while campaigning for Conservative candidates in the 2011 election.

And the official Opposition says Duffy is still "mooching off taxpayers" by resigning from the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent rather than doing the honourable thing by quitting altogether.

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