Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 24/13
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
What did Prime Minister Stephen Harper know about a Conservative senator’s improper expenses and when did he know it?
That’s the question politicians and the public are asking about a police investigator’s preliminary report into Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses claims.
Police found there was “no evidence” Harper had detailed knowledge of an elaborate plan within his office to repay Duffy’s questionable housing and travel expenses.
The investigation into fraud and bribery allegations suggested that former chief of staff Nigel Wright received Harper’s approval for an initial plan to have the Conservative party cover about $32,000 of the expenses.
When the amount escalated to $90,000, the plan was dropped, the report said.
Police suggest the prime minister’s office tried to contain the “embarrassing” scandal and halt the audit into Duffy’s expenses.
Harper continues to insist he knew nothing of the arrangement in which Wright gave Duffy the money to pay back the expenses.
The Senate has suspended without pay Duffy and two other Conservative senators appointed by Harper who have repaid expenses of about $278,000 while a fourth Liberal senator retired and paid back $231,649.
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