Mr Harry Cohen - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents

34.  Letter to the Director of Strategic Projects, Department of Resources, from the Commissioner, 11 September 2009

I would welcome your comments on the attached letter of 11 September from Mr Harry Cohen MP responding to the advice you gave me about this complaint in respect of Mr Cohen's claims for his second home in your letters of 14 and 22 July.

I wrote to you on 23 July to let you know that I was forwarding your letters to Mr Cohen. I attach a copy of a manuscript note from Mr Cohen of 24 July, together with a copy of a letter of 22 July to Mr Cohen from the Director of Operations; a letter from me to Mr Cohen of 27 July asking for copies of his previous letters to the Department; a copy of Mr Cohen's letter to me of 28 July; a copy of a letter of 12 August from Mr Cohen's office together with copies of Mr Cohen's letters to the Director of Operations of 2 April and 11 May 2009; a copy of my letter of 28 July with copies of our earlier correspondence; and a copy of Mr Cohen's letter to me of 11 September.

As you will see, Mr Cohen reports on a meeting with a Department of Resources official in June 2008 and a subsequent discussion with another official about this meeting. He refers also to a previous meeting when he recalls he was told that the rules did not exclude renting. Mr Cohen also makes a number of points in response to the advice you have given me, and he suggests in particular that you have a duty to address why the difficulties he has reported in his response to me were not considered exceptional under the terms of the rules.

I would be very grateful for any further information you can give me about the meeting with a Departmental official in June 2008 and what was discussed there; Mr Cohen's statement that he informed the Department about his wife's condition and "it was confirmed to me that the rules did not exclude renting"; your views on the application of the main home rule to Mr Cohen's description of his exceptional circumstances; and for any other points which you consider it would be helpful for me to have.

I had been hoping to conduct an interview with Mr Cohen on 23 September. I am now arranging for that to be deferred. But if you could let me have a response by the end of the month, I would be most grateful.

Thank you for your help.

11 September 2009

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