June 9th, 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.