Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Another Duffy-Wright-Harper Morsel

Until mid-July, Chris Woodcock worked in the Harper PMO as Director of Issues Management.  One of the issues Woodcock became involved in managing was the Duffy-Wright-Harper under-the-table cash deal.   That came through loud and clear in an e-mail from Woodcock to Duffy.

In an email dated May 15, the morning after CTV News first reported that Wright and Duffy had come to a secret deal to help the senator repay his ineligible expenses, Woodcock asked Duffy: "Can you confirm whether you advised the Senate ethics officer of any loans/gifts involved in the March 25th repayment?"

"Trying to cover off all the angles," Woodcock wrote.

That's not quite like asking Duffy if he remembered to wipe the prints off the gun.  Not quite, but close.  It might even be enough to later persuade a Director of Issues Management that it might be best for all concerned if he didn't hang around the office any longer.

The CBC News story is also the first indication that Nigel Wright's lawyers may have been selective in the e-mails and documents they handed over to RCMP investigators.

The RCMP are looking for a chain of emails and documents that support Mike Duffy's allegations that the Senate expenses scandal reaches right into the Prime Minister's Office, CBC News has learned.

"The existence of such documentation may potentially be evidence of criminal wrongdoing by others," says Supt. Biage Carrese from the RCMP National Division in a Nov. 1 letter obtained by CBC News.

The Mounties are particularly interested in Duffy's claim that his initial story about repaying his disputed expenses by taking out an RBC loan was concocted by senior advisers to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"Emails from the PMO specifically relating to a script for Senator Duffy to follow in advance of obtaining funds from a RBC loan to repay the Receiver General" may be material to the RCMP's investigation, Carrese wrote.

It's not always easy to read between the lines of this Greek tragedy/farce but it seems notable that, while the RCMP has already recommended charges be laid against senator Pam Wallin, they're seemingly nowhere near that point with Duffy.  That may have something to do with just who is on the case, the 'sensitive investigation' section, a designation that should rightly raise eyebrows.  It almost certainly has something to do with the fact that they don't know how far this scandal reaches, who is implicated by "evidence of criminal wrongdoing by others."


Owen Gray said...

I suspect that Wright won't talk until he has to, Mound -- meaning unless and until he is charged.

Everything depends on that chain of emails.

The Mound of Sound said...

I was given to understand that Wright has all the e-mails that Duffy has but, if that's so, it appears Wright's lawyers may have culled the documents said to have the "prime minister's fingerprints all over them" (or so I was told).

It could be that Wright wants someone else (i.e. Duffy) to roll over on Harper and that would be perfectly understandable for a Bay Street power player with a long and potentially lucrative future ahead of him.

It's interesting that Wright was the obvious source of such high level discord at the conservative convention.

Dana said...

He'll almost certainly be the last Bay Street power player to leave the street to work for Harper. Probably make them all think twice about getting involved with any party for that matter.

Which may or may not be a good thing.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think that's a fair assessment, Dana. MacKay came out at the Con Convention stating that he hoped the mauling Wright received wouldn't deter top talent from government service in the future. He's got a point.

Dana said...

Public service is about to take another hit too.

One of the big reasons top level talent has always been attracted to public service in Canada is because while they won't be able to amass the kind of personal fortune that they might in the private sector they will be well remunerated and, most importantly, well pensioned after their years of service.

That's about to be destroyed by the hillbillies.

Purple library guy said...

Well, if you call Bay Street power players/money grubbers/inside traders/parasites "top level talent" I suppose that's a problem. I'd personally be quite pleased if one outcome of this is to strain the relations between politicians and the uberwealthy, and slow the advance of US-style revolving door private/public/private sector actors making public policy during the "public" bit of that.

Dana said...

Now the civil service is made up of the uberwealthy too? For they are surely in public service.

Are you among the left side radicals who resent anyone making a good living and having a strong pension?

The Mound of Sound said...

I kind of see what you're both saying. A person's wealth shouldn't be a factor in their suitability for public service. How they came into that wealth, however, might be.

That said, the best and brightest have always played a major role in government service. That needs to be encouraged and defended particularly given the "know nothing" movement that is taking hold on both sides of the 49th.

Anonymous said...

The RCMP have a formidable task ahead of them. Not only will they have to reconstruct the email chains contained in the PMO and Senate, but they may also involve private email service providers (e.g. gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail etc.). It is possible that some players used their private email accounts in the hope of avoiding 'freedom of information' requests.

I imagine that the RCMP will be able to obtain warrants to search any private email communications that may have been used in the commission of an alleged crime.

I'm guessing that this will not be a trivial task. The RCMP may have to investigate not just simple email chains, but, rather, somewhat complex webs of email chains.

Dana said...

I'm just not sure the RCMP's real task isn't to make all that material disappear forever.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Anonymous said...


Of course, if the RCMP have entered into a conspiracy with the Harperites, then all is lost.

Personally, I believe that the RCMP will stand up for the rights of the majority of Canadians and the rule of law.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's not the rank and file RCMP officers that trouble me, it's Harper's pet commish.

Anonymous said...

Mound, I think you might be underestimating the power of the rank and file. They are becoming infuriated with the political 'pets'.

Purple library guy said...

Dana: I'm among the left side radicals that resents multimillionaires in the financial industry. You know, wealthy and powerful members of the capitalist class. Particularly when they use their wealth/prominence/elite status to cultivate connections with right wing politicos and install themselves in powerful unelected positions.
Is that supposed to be somehow inconsistent with leftism? Do tell. Perish the thought that leftists might apply a (horrors) class analysis!

Dana said...

PLG, how do you feel about George Soros then?

deb Scott said...

well the RCMP should just file a request to the NSA for all emails from the PMO, lol. Im sure someone down at the office has been spying on harper:)

Purple library guy said...

Dana--George Soros? I think he's a Liberal. An Obama imperialist rather than a George Bush imperialist. The far right love to call him a socialist, but they love to call Obama a socialist too. In reality, he wants a slightly kinder, gentler capitalism (but only slightly), much like, well, George (non-W) Bush Sr.

Basically, he's a very rich man who has come to a somewhat more pessimistic (perhaps more realistic) evaluation of the prospects of extreme neoliberal financialist capitalism than some of the other very rich men, and has decided that if instability and rebellion are to be avoided, some semblance of the old welfare state softeners must be maintained rather than moving to straight obvious oligarchy red in tooth and claw. He's an oligarch who is having a tactical disagreement with some other oligarchs over how best to run the oligarchy. Given this, there are going to be some tactical things I'll agree with him about in opposition to, say, Stephen Harper or even Tony Blair. But he's not a leftist and in a broader sense he's still part of the problem, using his money to manipulate events, build up pro-US political parties with democratic grassroots appeal but little democratic grassroots reality, and so forth. The likes of Soros are not going to lead to any empowerment of actual people.

Purple library guy said...

Mind you, it's perfectly possible to be a traitor to one's class; a really rich person could become a socialist, pro-popular power type and do things which were very useful. But George Soros isn't that. And a crony of Stephen Harper who took a stint in the PMO, the place Canada is controlled from, much like all those Goldman Sachs executives running government financial agencies and central banks, very definitely isn't that.