RoboCalls Probe Extends To Conservative Party Of Canada Headquarters
OTTAWA — "Elections Canada investigators on the trail of the "Pierre Poutine" suspect in the robocalls case have been asking questions about the actions of staff at Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa.
Nearly a year after the investigation began, the agency is trying to determine why database records provided by the party appear to be missing entries that could help identify who downloaded the phone numbers used to make fraudulent robocalls, according to a source familiar with the probe.
Investigators also are inquiring about a phone call from Conservative headquarters, made the day before the election, to RackNine, the Edmonton voice-broadcasting company whose servers were used to send out the robocalls.
On May 2, 2011, thousands of opposition supporters in Guelph, Ont., received a pre-recorded message directing them to vote at the wrong polling station. The electronic trail behind the calls eventually discovered led to a disposable cellphone registered in the fake name of Pierre Poutine.
The party has repeatedly and firmly denied that anybody in its Ottawa offices had anything to do with the Poutine drama, and until recently, the investigation has focused on the team of workers on the unsuccessful campaign of Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke.
"As you know, we have proactively reached out to Elections Canada and offered to assist them in any way we can," party spokesman Fred DeLorey said Monday night. "That includes handing over any documents or records that may assist them."
But investigators are now combing over access logs for the Conservatives' Constituent Information Management System (CIMS) to determine who downloaded a list of phone numbers for non-Conservative supporters in Guelph.
They are now certain the list of numbers in Guelph that received the robocalls came directly from CIMS, according to the source. The CIMS data were compared to listings of the outgoing robocalls provided under court order by RackNine and matched perfectly, the source said.
Investigators Al Mathews and Ronald Lamothe are now trying to determine who had access to a list of voters who previously had been identified as non-Conservatives.
Non-supporter data are entered into CIMS by volunteers collecting information during neighbourhood canvasses and by phone bank workers contracted by the party.
CIMS is known for its tight access controls and detailed event logging and retains a digital record of every transaction on the database. Interns and volunteers have been sanctioned when the logs showed they had looked up Prime Minister Stephen Harper's listing, for example.
The investigators have inquired about CIMS logs for one particular user in the party's headquarters. The logs show blanks between this person's CIMS logon and logoff on the day the Guelph data was accessed, according to the source.
Also of interest is a call to RackNine made on May 1, the day before the vote, from a number in the Conservative party war room in Ottawa.
The number is listed as belonging to Chris Rougier, who was identified as the party's manager of voter relation programs. It usually rings on his desk at party headquarters on Albert Street in downtown Ottawa, but was forwarded to the party's south Ottawa war room for the duration of the campaign.
Rougier was a key member of the target seat team, working directly under campaign manager Jenni Byrne, acting as a liaison with vendors providing telephone services to the campaign."
... Dawg's Blawg has more ......
..... so does Saskboy ....