PMO spokesman denies political interference
Aide was present in meetings with developer, military contractor
A joint investigation by the Globe and Mail and Radio-Canada is alleging that a member of the Prime Minister's Office and a Conservative fundraiser directly interfered in a pair of political dossiers.
The report, which aired on the CBC's French-language service on Tuesday night, alleges PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas intervened in favour of a Montreal real estate developer currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the federal government, and sat in on a meeting with representatives of an international military contractor looking to sell its wares.
Soudas told Radio-Canada he doesn't deny being involved in both cases, but says he did nothing wrong and did not break any ethical rules.
The report says Soudas directly intervened on behalf of Rosdev Group, a Montreal real estate developer currently embroiled in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit with the Public Works Department over the management of two office buildings that house thousands of civil servants.
The report also says Leo Housakos, a longtime Tory supporter and party organizer in Quebec, also intervened directly with the Public Works Department.
Rosdev's president, Michael Rosenberg, ran unsuccessfully for the Conservative party in the Montreal-area riding of Outremont in 2006.
Housakos told Radio-Canada he was trying to get the message across that it would be good for the government to help out Rosenberg, a party supporter.
Housakos said he never asked Soudas to intervene in the case.
And Soudas said all he did was follow up on a question from a municipal councillor and send the file along to Public Works.
But sources told the television network that Soudas was attempting to buy time for Rosdev from its legal battles and to help a key Quebec political ally.
Soudas, apart from his role as a spokesman, is also a key strategist for the prime minister on Quebec issues.
The report also says that Soudas was present during a meeting between Housakos and an unnamed military contractor looking for an edge in bidding with the government.
Housakos, also a former financial director for the Action Démocratique du Québec who was appointed to Via Rail's board of directors in December for a four-year term, was approached by the company.
Soudas was also present at the meeting, the report says.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's deputy press secretary told Radio-Canada that he did not breach any code of ethics by being present at the meeting.
Housakos told the Radio-Canada reporter he had no recollection of the meeting and never received any money to do any lobby work.
Housakos is not a registered lobbyist, the report says.