Harper’s Chief of Staff Personally Paid $90,000 on Behalf of Sen. Mike Duffy

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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It was clarified by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesperson, Andrew MacDougall, that PM’s chief of staff and right-hand man, Nigel Wright, did help by writing the $90,000 bill to bail out Sen. Mike Duffy from improper housing expenses but that was in his personally capacity.

In an official statement, MacDougall mentioned that “the government believes that taxpayers should not be on the hook for improper expense claims made by senators.” He added that “Mr. Duffy agreed to repay the expenses because it was the right thing to do. However, Mr. Duffy was unable to make a timely repayment. Mr. Wright therefore wrote a cheque from his personal account for the full amount owing so that Mr. Duffy could repay the outstanding amount.” A spokesperson of the Conservative Party, Fred DeLorey, informed CBC News that Duffy is not expected to return the money paid by Wright, and added that the party has not reimbursed Wright for his payment either. DeLorey wrote in an email that “we didn’t pay any of the money he reimbursed for living expenses.” He mentioned straight-forwardly that “no party money involved in any way.”

The Prime Minister’s Office specifically emphasized that Harper was not aware of the arrangement and reassured that there was no taxpayer money involved at any stage of the repayment. On the other hand, the remaining two senators audited by an external firm, namely Liberal Sen. Mac Harb and former Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau, have decided to fight the Senate over tens of thousands of dollars in housing expenses they are being asked to repay.

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