Thursday, November 21, 2013

Senate expenses scandal: Good summary by Josh Wingrove of Globe&Mail

Josh Wingrove
Kudos to Josh Wingrove for succinctly summarizing the issues and course of events as shown in the RCMP document.

And here is the passage – my underlining of part of it - that will cause heartburn to many of those involved in this saga, and perhaps lead to charges of breaches of the Criminal Act against more people:


The issue landed on the radar of Mr. Wright on Feb. 5, police say. He spoke with Mr. Duffy two days later, and the senator professed innocence.

Mr. Wright had thought Mr. Duffy agreed to repay some claims, but “felt deflated” upon hearing from Mr. Duffy’s lawyer, RCMP wrote. The sides continued to talk. On Feb. 13, Mr. Duffy approached Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leading Mr. Wright to “interject” in the discussion.

Later that month, Mr. Duffy’s lawyer proposed a deal with five conditions. The Deloitte audit into his residency would be abandoned; the government would acknowledge Mr. Duffy could continue to serve as a senator from PEI; Duffy would be “kept whole,” or not be on the hook for his legal fees or repaying his expenses; he’d could collect a living allowance going forward, if rules allowed; and both sides would stick to “media lines,” or talking points designed to conceal the pact.
Not all those would happen, but Mr. Wright thought the Conservative Party was “open to keeping Sen. Duffy whole,” or paying his bills.
Senator Irving Gerstein, chair of the Conservative Fund, told Mr. Wright the Fund would cover $32,000 in housing claims only – “nothing else,” Mr. Wright stressed – and legal fees, estimated by Mr. Wright to be $12,000.

Mr. Wright said Feb. 22 he had ”the go-ahead” on repayment, but that “I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final” An hour later, he said: “We are good to go from the PM.”

It’s unclear what was said in that hour. At that point, the Conservative Party was planning to pay roughly $44,000 on Mr. Duffy’s behalf. But Mr. Harper said Wednesday he understood that they were “good to go with Mr. Duffy repaying his own expenses.”

No need to go any further until these events are examined. 

If any of these actions were breaches of the Criminal Act, charges against those involved in such breaches could result. 

If none of these events happened (contrary to the facts in the RCMP document), or if these facts were nor breaches of the law, then we can put them aside, no charges will result, and we can deal with other things.

Check out the CBC report  click here – for what the RCMP believes happened:

RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton says in the court documents that there are reasonable grounds to believe Wright offered money or favour to Duffy contrary to the Criminal Code. Horton alleges Duffy agreed to accept the offer of money.

Horton also alleges Wright and Duffy "have committed bribery, frauds on the government, and breach of trust."

And check the relevant section 119 of the Criminal Act from Paul S. Graham – click here for his post.

And as further food for thought in your ruminations, here is the summary of the above issues in the RCMP report:

 

The mainstream media have started looking carefully at the above events and asking the right questions. Mulcair has this bone in his teeth, as well - his questioning of the PM on this very point of approval by the prime minister of a senator having to repay his own expenses - was masterful. 

If those alleged facts are correct, how wide a net will section 119 of the Criminal Code cast?

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