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OTTAWA — The auditor general’s report into Senate spending refers specifically to partisan activities as legitimate official business — an argument that has been made by the defence in the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy.

The report, a copy of which was viewed by The Canadian Press, provides definitions of parliamentary functions and public business that were used by auditors who scrutinized the books of individual senators.

The report’s definitions refer to partisan matters, but rule out anything of a private nature or that has to do with a general election.

Several of the charges that Duffy faces are based on trips he took using his Senate account to Conservative partisan events, including charity fundraisers, which often dovetailed with personal business.

Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of breach of trust, fraud, and breach of trust in relation to his Senate office, living and travel expenses.

The auditor general’s report does not make mention of any other senators having attended partisan events, but rather focuses on travel for personal purposes.

The Canadian Press

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