Harper knew. Despite all the lies he has endlessly spun in Parliament, to the Tory faithful, to reporters, the truth is spilling out.
Stephen Harper knew that Nigel Wright was giving Mike Duffy money to clear his Senate tab. Stephen Harper gave Nigel Wright the "go ahead." Wright waited until Harper told him they were "good to go."
Wright confirmed this in an e-mail he sent to Harper press secretary, Carl Vallee, and PMO communications director, Andrew MacDougall.
"The PM knows, in broad terms only, that I personally assisted Duffy when I was getting him to agree to repay the expenses," Wright said in an email May 14.
And there's more, plenty more, almost certainly enough to bury Stephen Harper.
...in a February email, Wright refers to Harper's "approval" related to earlier negotiations around covering Duffy's expenses.
Emails on Feb. 21 and 22 suggest Duffy's lawyer, Janice Payne, and several PMO officials negotiated the agreement to repay Duffy's expenses and legal fees in return for the Senate committee dropping a third-party audit into Duffy's expenses, according to the RCMP document.
In one email to PMO legal counsel Ben Perrin and other officials, Wright said, "I now have the go-ahead" on the repayment, "with a couple of stipulations."
Wright continued that he needed to know "who, if anyone, Sen. Duffy ever intends to inform" about the repayment. Wright also wanted to "cap the legal fee reimbursement at $12,000" — the amount the party later confirmed it paid — and to know how much Duffy actually owed.
"I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final," Wright wrote, according to Horton's affidavit.
Less than an hour later, Horton said, "Nigel Wright followed up with an email stating 'We are good to go from the PM once Ben [Perrin] has his confirmation from Payne.'"
These e-mails speak volumes but I don't think they're exhaustive of the record. Duffy is said to have several hundred pages of documents including e-mails, correspondence and even a tape recording or two. His counsel, Don Bayne, says some of those documents also implicate Harper directly.
Harper got caught in lies of his own making. He believed that tossing a couple of sacrificial lambs from the PMO would make all his problems go away. The way this scandal has been bungled speaks very powerfully of Stephen Harper's arrogance and integrity. Now he may be left to await his own Ides of March.