Panel: Bruce Cheadle/ Antonia Maioni / Gerry Nicholls
Rick Mercer may not care for Senator Mike Duffy so he be pleased to say that after months of controversy Senator Duffy announced last night he's left the Conservative caucus to sit as an Independent senator.
His troubles began late last year, when a Senate committee announced an audit to determine if Senators were actually living in homes they declared to be primary residences. CBC News found that PEI did not issue the senator a resident tax credit for his for his home in the province.
Mr. Duffy admitted to a mistake and promised to pay back more than $90,000. And now it looks as if he received some highly-placed help with that payback.
The Prime Minister's office confirms that Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister's chief of staff gave Duffy a cheque. The ethics commissioner is now reviewing Wright's involvement under the Conflict of Interest Act. Oh, and the RCMP says its looking into the senate audits.
Also, there are news reports questioning whether Mike Duffy claimed senate expenses while campaigning for the Conservatives during the 2011 federal election.
Bruce Cheadle is the national affairs reporter for Canadian Press and he was in Ottawa.
Antonia Maioni is an associate professor of political science at McGill University. She was in Montreal.
And Gerry Nicholls is a communications consultant and former VP of the National Citizens Coalition. He was in Toronto.
We did put in a request to speak to Senator Mike Duffy, but calls were not returned.
This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien, Virginia Smart and Karin Marley.
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