The Duffy Affair: More emails reveal Duffy tried to cash in
A new string of emails from September 2009 suggest Duffy was trying to cash in from Conservative coffers. The senator who entered claiming to be non-partisan was already caught in another email, just three months sooner, asking who to charge for an “expanded role” in the Conservative Party.
Dan Hilton, the executive director of the Conservative Party, was the recipient of these emails.
In one email, Duffy inquires invoices, asking, “Dan: Shud I send you a one page note re fees and expenses?”
In another, one of Hilton’s staffers asked Duffy if “HQ would cover the cost of some of your travel? For example, one of the events they asked you to participate in is coming up next week (Nova Scotia Campus Conservatives). I’d like to book your flights soon, but need to know who’s covering for it.”
Another email adds Conservative fundraising director Tracey Loosemore to the picture where Duffy tells her and Hilton he just came back from Hamilton, Truro and South West Nova, and, “Everywhere I went, people told me they had responded to our email appeal.” Duffy was being confronted on what he thought of people’s emails and wrote, “I am starting to think we had better find a way of dealing with this mail before people get pissed off that we haven’t responded.” Duffy’s solution was to “have a staffer assigned to work with me.”
Hilton replies, “I have arranged to set funds aside where it makes sense and I have discussed this with Jenni Byrne. She can review the schedule from your assistant to see if their ridings are of influence in the area.”
Byrne was the national campaign director in the 2011 election and was the director of political operations at the time.
Hilton also adds, “I know that she has asked for a data dump of email responses. I’ll get her to call you so we can get on them quickly,” and implies Duffy will get aid from supporters.
Conservative spokesman Fred DeLorey told CBC when asked if the Conservatives would pay Duffy a fee for his appearances, “Any events Mr. Duffy participated in on behalf of the party or local EDAs [electoral district associations] would have been paid for by the party or local EDAs. The party does not pay Mr. Duffy compensation.”
Duffy flew back to his cottage today and when confronted by reporters, he said, “When that work is done, I think Canadians will agree, as the independent auditors at Deloitte, found that criticism of my expenses are largely without merit.”
The issue isn’t that Duffy is charging the Conservative party to do campaign work, it is having his senate staffers do campaign work while the job that is the issue. It is also normal for senators to tour and speak with their party during election campaigns, however these days cannot be charged to the senate bill.
What is interesting about Duffy’s case is he was a prominent journalist with CTV and claimed to be non-partisan on December 29, 2008 in an interview when he said, “The prime minister called me and I said, you know I’m not really much of a partisan. He said, we’ve got lots of partisans, we want people to go in there, shake that place up and when we get the critical mass, pass legislation to reform the senate.”
What is even more telling is his comment by the end of the interview. “There was no way that the Liberals were ever going to vote for change. They wanted to keep it as the old pork barrel, where they could reward their friends and the people who had done the party favours.”
What do you think of these emails and the about-face of Duffy’s partisanship?