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Senate ethics watchdog asked to probe role of Tory fundraiser Gerstein

Conservative Senator Mike Duffy leaves Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday June 6, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
December 12, 2013 - 11:37 AM

OTTAWA - The Senate's ethics officer is being asked to investigate the role of the Conservative party's chief fundraiser in the alleged cover-up of Sen. Mike Duffy's dubious expense claims.

Liberal Sen. Celine Hervieux-Payette has written Lyse Ricard, asking her to look into the role played by Conservative Sen. Irving Gerstein, the party's self-described bagman.

Gerstein allegedly agreed to cover Duffy's disputed living expenses from party funds; but he balked when the tab rose to more than $90,000 — a sum paid ultimately by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's then chief of staff, Nigel Wright.

Gerstein did dip into the Tory till to reimburse Duffy for $13,000 in legal fees.

At Wright's behest, Gerstein also allegedly contacted Deloitte managing partner Michael Runia in a bid to shape the outcome of an audit of Duffy's expense claims.

Hervieux-Payette says interfering in the work of a Senate committee, which ordered the audit, in order to promote the financial interests of another senator is a violation of the upper house's conflict of interest code.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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