OTTAWA – The RCMP laid 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery against suspended Sen. Mike Duffy on Thursday.

The charges involve Duffy’s claims for living expenses, claims for travel expenses unconnected with Senate business and fraudulent contracts, said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud.

They also cover the $90,000 Duffy allegedly received from Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s former chief of staff.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the behaviour described in the RCMP charges “disgraceful.”

“We have assisted the RCMP throughout their investigation, and congratulate them on the progress they have made,” Jason Macdonald said in a statement.

“Those who break the rules must suffer the consequences. The conduct described in the numerous charges against Mr. Duffy is disgraceful.”

“As this is now a criminal matter that is before the courts, we have nothing further to add.”

In an interview with AdvocateDaily.com, Toronto criminal lawyer Graham Clark says these charges may some day be looked back upon as pivotal in the way that privileged public servants are held accountable.

– See more at: http://advocatedaily.com/2014/07/former-senator-mike-duffy-charged/#sthash.WLcN6ZOs.dpuf