8 things revealed by RCMP's court filings on Mike Duffy
Senator is being investigated for 3 different possible acts of fraud
New information revealed in documents filed by the RCMP about Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses raises new questions.
They range from how Duffy approached the question of his residency from the moment he was first appointed to the Senate to how much the Prime Minister's Office knew about a $90,000 bank draft to repay his inappropriately claimed expenses.
The court documents contain allegations that have not been proven in court.
Here's a look at the new information and the questions it raises.
1. The documents reveal the RCMP is investigating Duffy over not just one, but three separate fraud allegations:
- For expenses perhaps fraudulently claimed for Ottawa housing and per diem costs, because Duffy said his primary residence was in P.E.I.
- For possible fraudulent per diem claims submitted while he was vacationing in Florida or while he was campaigning for the Conservative Party in the last federal election.
- For accepting, perhaps fraudulently, a payment from Nigel Wright, the prime minister's top aide, in exchange for a deal that would allow him to pay back his inappropriately claimed expenses quickly and without protest and for a promise a Senate report would "go easy on him."
2. Amid opposition party demands for an investigation, the RCMP, of its own volition, began investigating Duffy in March. That was two months before a Deloitte audit of Duffy's residency, commissioned by the Senate, was made public, and before a Senate committee voted to refer Duffy's expenses to the RCMP.
3. Although Duffy claimed his primary residence was in P.E.I., the documents reveal he's lived in Ottawa since 1971. However, he applied for a P.E.I. driver's licence on Dec. 22, 2008 — the same day it was announced he had been selected for appointment to the Senate.
4. In passport applications in 2007 and 2012, Duffy gave his Ottawa address as his permanent residence.
5. The documents reveal the Conservative Party initially believed Duffy owed only $32,000, an amount the party was apparently willing to pay. This amount may refer to the $34,000 the Deloitte report calculated Duffy had claimed in housing costs in Ottawa and per diems during the 18-month period of Deloitte's examination.
It is not clear why the party didn't know that Senator David Tkachuk, at the time chair of the Senate committee on internal economy, had written Duffy on Feb. 27 telling him he actually owed $90,172.
6. Lawyers for Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former chief of staff, told the RCMP that when Wright gave Duffy $90,000 he didn't know about any fraudulent claims on Duffy's part. But Wright was in contact with Senator Tkachuk during the time Deloitte was preparing its report, and it was Deloitte that discovered Duffy had claimed per diems for being on Senate business while on vacation in Florida.
7. It is not clear why the chair of the Conservative Fund, Senator Irving Gerstein, thought it was OK for the party to bear the cost of $32,000 for Duffy, but not $90,000.
8. Wright, in a statement given when he resigned, said he accepted "sole responsibility" for the decision to give money to Duffy. But the documents reveal that Wright's lawyers told the RCMP that three other senior people in the Prime Minister's Office knew about the $90,000 cheque, as did Gerstein.