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    The Mike Duffy Scandal As Explained By "Game Of Thrones" GIFs

    It's a Red Chamber Wedding. (Spoilers and/or winter ahead.)

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    Confused about this whole scandal involving Mike Duffy? The gang from Westeros is here to help.

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    In 2008 Stephen Harper appointed CTV newsman Mike Duffy to represent Prince Edward Island in the Senate.

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    Except Duffy had actually lived in Ottawa for many years.

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    Luckily, Duffy owned a cottage in P.E.I. so he was allowed to be a Senator for the province.

    Then Duffy claimed his P.E.I. property was his full-time residence — even though a caretaker said it was pretty much unusable in the winter.

    That way he could claim housing expenses for when he stayed in Ottawa — despite already owning a home there. Housing expenses are supposed to help Senators rent somewhere in Ottawa so they can get to work.

    Reporters started writing about this in 2012. Duffy insisted he didn't do anything wrong but it was fast becoming an embarrassment for Stephen Harper. Plus, Duffy was worth his weight in gold.

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    Duffy boasted of spending "countless weekends on the rubber chicken circuit," travelling across the country to raise money for the Conservatives.

    Duffy said he couldn't afford to pay back the expenses so Harper's chief of staff, Nigel Wright, wrote Duffy a $90,000 cheque to cover them. Wright is a millionaire so he could spare some change.

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    Except, of course, that you can't give tens of thousands of dollars to legislators. Police would later charge Duffy for accepting a bribe (but oddly, Wright was never charged for offering a bribe).

    Duffy then told the public he voluntarily repaid the money himself. Behind the scenes, staff in the Prime Minister's Office tried to prevent any more embarrassing details from coming out.


    They interfered in a Senate investigation, even ghost-writing a report, despite the Senate supposedly being independent. They also tried and failed to have Duffy's expenses removed from a third-party audit.

    The cover-up didn't work. More details came out, including Duffy expensing for Senate work while fundraising for the Conservatives or on vacation in Florida.

    Then in May of 2013 CTV's Bob Fife gave the scandal new life. He broke the story that Nigel Wright actually wrote the cheque for Duffy's expenses.

    Wright resigned within days.

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    What had started as an expense scandal had now become a story about a political cover-up in the Prime Minister's Office.

    Eventually Stephen Harper's office turned on Duffy.

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    Rather than supporting him behind the scenes, Harper publicly condemned him.

    Senior Tories who had once praised Duffy's integrity turned on him, too.

    Then, In October 2013, Duffy stood in the Senate, metaphorical sword unsheathed, and delivered a speech accusing the PMO of orchestrating the whole thing.

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    Soon after, Duffy was suspended from the Senate, along with Senators Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin.

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    Stephen Harper denied knowing about the cheque or the cover-up, despite several senior people in his office allegedly knowing about it or being involved.

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    Except some people say he did. The lawyer who advised Harper's office now says he believed the Prime Minister knew what was going on.

    Internal emails from Wright said Harper was "good to go" on the cheque. But Harper says he thought the plan was for Duffy to repay his own expenses.

    And while no one has been killed, pretty much everyone has been damaged.

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    Nigel Wright had to step down in shame. Duffy is on trial facing 31 criminal charges. And Stephen Harper gets hounded by Duffy questions at every campaign stop he makes.

    The question now is whether Harper can weather an election as Duffy's trial unfolds.

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    Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

    Contact Paul McLeod at

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