The Duffy Affair: Conservatives deny secret PMO fund
CBC released a bombshell story yesterday revealing the PMO hid a secret fund for seven years and was used for untracked partisan spending. The fund was secret and was guarded by four chief of staffs since its creation in 2006, along with a five-member board from the Conservative Fund of Canada. The Conservatives have since denied the existence of the fund, despite admitting to its existence only 18 hours ago.
In an email exchange with the Conservative Party, CBC’s Greg Weston didn’t get many answers about the secret fund.
Read more about the Secret Fund
Conservative spokesman Fred DeLorey said, “The prime minister at times incurs expenses that are best paid by the party.” DeLorey also ruled out the possibility the fund could have paid Duffy directly or indirectly through then-Chief of Staff Nigel Wright.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, released a statement saying, “The CBC claimed party funds are hidden from Elections Canada. This is false.”
The release continued to hammer the CBC’s story, despite admitting to the fund yesterday.
“The Conservative Party ensures that non-government activities undertaken by the prime minister are never billed to taxpayers.
“The CBC is being selective, failing to mention this is a standard practice for all political parties.”
Yesterday, Conservative MP Chris Alexander said the fund existed and was used to fund internal polling, flights to party events, and other partisan activities the Conservative Party would incur. However, he didn’t say why the PMO needed a secret fund for the same purpose – drawing money from the Conservative Party anyway. [See above video]
An official from former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s government said “When we had expenses that were clearly partisan — like sending our staff to a party event, for instance – we just sent the bills to the party. It was all pretty above-board.” So why could the Liberals take expenses directly and why do the Conservatives need a secret fund to do the same thing?
What do you think of this secret fund? Could it have been used to cover up Conservative misdeads? Why did it need to be secret? If the expenses sent to the stash would have been no surprise to Conservative members then why not just bill the Conservative Party like the Liberals did in the Chretien Government? Elections Canada confirmed: outside a writ period, they “can toss a million dollars into the organ grinder’s hat if they feel like it.”