OTTAWA – New RCMP court filings challenge statements made in the Senate chamber by senators Mike Duffy, Marjory LeBreton and Carolyn Stewart Olsen. Here is a summary of the RCMP’s take on what was said:
Duffy’s claim: Nigel Wright had Duffy’s expenses checked, which satisfied him that everything was in order. Wright also told Duffy several other senators were in the same boat and the media reports were a “smear.”
RCMP: Wright never said he’d checked on Duffy’s expenses. Wright told Duffy he had been advised the senator followed the rules, and other senators would have similar arrangements.
Duffy’s claim: The Prime Minister’s office threatened him to “do what we want, or else.”
RCMP: Cpl. Greg Horton says he hasn’t seen any evidence this happened. On Feb. 20, Duffy told his own lawyer that Wright never threatened him with Senate removal.
Duffy’s claim: Prime Minister Stephen Harper was involved in having his legal bills paid.
RCMP: Horton says there’s no evidence Harper was involved in this. Horton does say there’s evidence to suggest the prime minister’s staff told him they were working on a plan to have Duffy repay the expenses, and that he may have known the Conservative Fund would repay Duffy’s legal fees. Harper has said it’s not uncommon for the party to pay the legal fees of members in good standing “from time to time.”
Duffy’s claim: That he objected to the “fake pay-back scheme.”
RCMP: Horton says there’s no evidence Duffy ever objected to someone else paying his expenses.
LeBreton’s claim: Duffy was wrong to say there was a plan that involved Senate leadership to keep him from being audited by Deloitte.
RCMP: There was a plan to have Duffy removed from the Deloitte audit if he repaid his ineligible expense claims, and emails show LeBreton was aware of it.
LeBreton’s claim: Duffy was wrong to say the Conservative caucus would be whipped to keep him from being kicked out of the Senate if word got out about the “phoney scheme.’
RCMP: There was an agreement to urge the caucus to vote against referring Duffy’s expenses for further review, which LeBreton knew about.
LeBreton’s claim: She never agreed to Duffy not being audited, and instead wanted to call in an independent auditor.
RCMP: LeBreton may have supported the decision to refer Duffy’s expenses to Deloitte in the first place, but emails show she also agreed the audit could be halted if Duffy repaid his expenses.
LeBreton’s claim: She only communicated once with Wright regarding Duffy, during a meeting at the end of April.
RCMP: On Feb. 20, a member of her staff contacted Wright after Duffy called to Sen. David Tkachuk. On Mar. 21 and Apr. 28, LeBreton emailed Wright about Duffy. On May 9, she contacted Wright to ask that Duffy stay away from Parliament Hill and avoid the media.
Stewart Olsen’s claim: She only remembers one communication with Wright, in late April.
RCMP: Horton says, “I believe that Sen. Stewart Olsen’s version of events to police was incomplete, and not consistent with the facts. … it is clear that she was in contact with Nigel Wright and others within the PMO.”