Saturday, May 18, 2013
Is the Senate Independent Auditor Independent?
The giant accounting firm, Deloitte, was retained to conduct a forensic audit of the expenses claimed by specific senators. In three cases there were questions of whether the individuals were in fact entitled to the extra housing allowance the senate provides to members not from Ottawa and environs.
And then, because her travel expenses seemed out of line, they also looked into the spending/reiumbursement of senator Pam Wallin of Wadena, Saskatchewan.
Something happened yesterday that raises new questions - this time concerning the auditor, Deloitte, in its audit of Pam Wallin.
It began when Pam Wallin announced she was temporarily "recusing" herself from the Conservative caucus. That fell apart when CTV reported that she didn't jump, she was pushed, by the Prime Minister's Office after Harper officials had reviewed the preliminary audit into Wallin's expenses.
That one little detail speaks volumes. Just what was Deloitte doing feeding preliminary audit results directly to Information Control Central, the PMO, if, as the CTV report suggests, that's what actually happened?
This certainly raises the appearance that the audit process is being manipulated for spin control purposes - the prime minister gets to see the results and cull the herd long before the public or the opposition gets a whiff of what's coming. And if that is in fact what's going on, surely Deloitte has become co-opted into the partisan political process of the PMO which raises questions about the integrity of the audit itself and what else Deloitte has been up to in the course of its investigations.
Stephen Harper is renowned as a control freak and he's shown that he's obsessed with maintaining an iron grip on information in all aspects.
The public needs to know if Deloitte was independent of the government in these audits as claimed.
So many questions. Did the independent auditor give the PMO a sneak preview of Mike Duffy's political urine test results too? Did the auditor, deliberately or inadvertently, help the prime minister and his staff shape their now failed plans to simply slip Duffy a cheque to make this all go away? Has Deloitte been an insider all along?