04/28/2015 14:18 EDT | Updated 06/28/2015 01:12 EDT

Duffy trial: secret Senate committee ruled in 90s on travel for partisan events

OTTAWA - The Senate's secretive internal economy committee strikes again.Sen. Mike Duffy's fraud, breach of trust and bribery trial is hearing that the committee made a decision decades ago that senators weren't allowed to travel on the public dime to partisan fundraisers.Some of the 31 charges Duffy faces relate to travel he took to partisan events, so such a decision would be important.But top Senate finance official Nicole Proulx says the committee's decision was made before she joined the Senate in the late 1990s, and she couldn't recall whether it was communicated to her verbally or in print.She also says that she can't comment on the exact nature of the decision because the committee's work was done in secret.Defence lawyer Donald Bayne is pushing Proulx to indicate how and when such a rule was communicated to senators, since it doesn't appear in any of the myriad reference documents they are given.