June 09, 2015
REALITY CHECK: Conservative Guide to Senate Scandal Cover-ups
MEMO: BUILDING A BETTER COVER-UP
FROM: PMO Operatives (THE SHORT PANTS BRIGADE)
Step-by-step instructions for the proper handling of wrongdoing in the Senate:
Q: The media discovers a Senator you appointed, Mike Duffy, has charged the Senate for expenses he wasn’t entitled to. What do you do?
A: Tell Senator Duffy that you’ll cover up the whole thing if he pays the money back.
Q: What if he refuses to pay?
A: See if Senator Irving Gerstein will use the Conservative Party Fund to repay the expenses on his behalf.
Q: What if Senator Gerstein refuses to raid the fund?
A: Have Nigel Wright personally repay the money, and then have Senator Duffy claim he voluntarily paid it back.
Q: The Senate has already commissioned Deloitte to do an audit, which will show the Senator you appointed to represent PEI is not a resident of PEI. Now what?
A: Get Irving Gerstein to call his friends at Deloitte, and ask them to stop the audit.
Q: What if the auditors at Deloitte won’t cooperate?
A: Get Senators Carolyn Stewart Olsen and Tkachuck to step in and delete key paragraphs of the Senate report on the audit before it’s made public.
Q: What if Senate officials protest?
A: Bring in heavyweights from the PMO to shut them down, and get the changes made.
Q: The media discovers Nigel Wright secretly paid Senator Duffy’s expenses himself, now what do you do?
A: Dispatch Pierre Poilievre to say that "Nigel Wright did an exceptionally honourable thing” by paying Duffy’s illegal expenses.
Q: What if people don’t buy that story?
A: Issue a press release confirming you still have the “full confidence” in Nigel Wright.
Q: And if that doesn’t end the controversy?
A: Issue another press release saying you have accepted Nigel Wright’s resignation “with regret”.
Q: What if the scandal keeps building?
A: Claim you “dismissed” Nigel Wright, and that he acted alone.
Q: What if Tom Mulcair starts to pick apart your story in Question Period?
A: Book tickets to Peru.
Q: The Auditor General’s investigation has uncovered evidence that dozens of Senators filed almost $1 million dollars’ worth of ineligible expense claims. What next?
A: Appoint a Senate Speaker – who knows his own personal expenses have been flagged by the Auditor General - and have him cook up a new arbitration scheme to dispute the Auditor General’s findings, and get him and his friends off the hook.
Q: The evidence is piling up that your office has been involved in covering up millions in improper spending in the Senate, some so bad that it’s a criminal matter. What should the prime minster do now?
A: Wish your Senate colleagues all the best … and find urgent business to attend to in Europe.