An update on the major scandal out of Ottawa this week: Justin Trudeau’s top aides caught skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars in padded expense claims.
Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s best friend since university, billed Canadian taxpayers $127,000 to move from Toronto to Ottawa to work for Trudeau as his senior advisor.
You know, you can literally buy an around-the-world cruise for an entire family for $127,000, but thhat’s what Butts charged Canadians to move him from down the highway from Toronto to Ottawa.
We put out a video about this on Thursday morning, and e-mailed it to thousands of Canadians, who signed our petition, and agreed to help us fund a billboard demanding that Butts, and another senior staffer, Katie Telford, pay the money back.
Hours after our petition was launched, the Liberals switched gears:
The Toronto Star put them on the cover saying they’re sorry:
"Expenses 101: Liberals get painful lesson in perception vs. reality 'They may all be legitimate expenses, but it’s going to be hard for the government to legitimize them”.
In other words, if you think there’s a problem billing taxpayers $127,000 to Ottawa, you’re just perceiving things wrong.
Then Gerald Butts himself put out a statement on Facebook:
"As this process relates to us, we were eligible to be reimbursed for a bunch of costs that we don’t feel comfortable about. While the rules were clear and we followed them, we both know that’s not always enough.”
Then Butts shows just how much he took, and for what. I’ll show you his “expenses,” like “real estate commission, fees and employer taxes: $47,103.56” and “personalized cash payout and incidentals: $20,799.10.” A cup of coffee here, a tank of gas there. Twenty grand.
There’s more. WATCH my report. It’s shocking.
Butts says it’s all fine, though. But just to take the pressure off, he’s is going to give back around $27,000. So he’s keeping $100,000. His moving truck was only $14,000. The rest is gravy, Liberal style.
No independent review. No auditor. No neutral civil servant to review. No copies of receipts, no itemization of what he tried to get away with for a year, until he was outed. We just have Gerald Butts investigating Gerald Butts, and saying what Gerald Butts will do.
Sorry, that’s a banana republic.
(Meanwhile, Mike Duffy had a year-long trial, where everything was out in the open, even his personal diary...)
We’re still adamant that Butts repay the rest of his padded money. We’re still aiming for 127,000 signatures on our petition, and we’re still going to take out a billboard in Ottawa demanding Butts repay his cash.
Are you satisfied with Butts investigating and exonerating himself? Are you satisfied with him taking $100,000 of your money, instead of $127,000? Do you believe he’s sorry?
Or do you believe he’s only sorry he got caught?
Forward this video to your friends. Ask them to sign the petition.
And help us put up our billboard in Ottawa shaming Butts into doing the right thing.