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Senator Mike Duffy's debts paid by Harper's chief of staff

OTTAWA (NEWS1130) – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff personally footed the $90,000 bill for embattled Senator Mike Duffy’s improper housing expenses.

Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall says Duffy was unable to make a timely repayment of the expenses.

Chief of staff Nigel Wright then stepped in to write a personal cheque for the full amount.

A government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, says Wright and Duffy are friends and that Wright offered the money as a gift rather than a loan.

The Prime Minister’s Office is emphasizing that Harper knew nothing of the arrangement and that no taxpayer money was used to cover the repayment.

Liberal Senator Mac Harb and former Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau are fighting the Senate over tens of thousands of dollars in housing expenses they are being asked to repay.