Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff says he made mistakes but stands behind his decision to give $90,000 gift to the embattled Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.
Nigel Wright had kept silent since his May 19 resignation after it was revealed that he covered the repayment of expenses Mr. Duffy improperly claimed.
“I made some mistakes. I'm living with the consequences of those mistakes. But I believe I can account for my actions,” Mr. Wright told CTV after being stopped on an Ottawa street before dawn, Tuesday.
Mr. Wright is expected to be questioned by federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, who is investigating the matter.
CTV caught up with Mr. Wright as he undertook his regular 4 a.m. 20-kilometre run through downtown Ottawa.
After trying to outpace the TV crew, Mr. Wright stopped and reluctantly said a few words.
“I'm going to, first of all, give my submissions to the ethics commissioner. She's going to look into this and I think I can stand behind everything I did," Mr. Wright said.
"I made some mistakes. I'm living with the consequences of those mistakes. But I believe I can account for my actions and I think that's the right forum for it."
He declined to speak further.
“As I was saying, I am going to give all my answers to the ethics commissioner and she’ll look into it, thank you.”
The CTV reporter insisted and asked if Mr. Duffy had asked Mr. Wright for the $90,000.
“Told you what I'm going to do, so thanks for that,” Mr. Wright replied before trotting away.
Mr. Harper has said he wasn’t aware of the arrangement between Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy.
Following Mr. Wright’s resignation, David Tkachuk, the Conservative senator in charge of the committee overseeing the audit into Mr. Duffy’s expenses, confirmed that Mr. Wright called regularly to keep tabs on the committee’s work.
The RCMP has said it is conducting a review into Senate audits of the expenses of Mr. Duffy and senators Patrick Brazeau, a former Conservative now sitting as an independent, and Mac Harb, a Liberal.