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Mounties lay more illegal lobbying charges against former PMO aide Bruce Carson

OTTAWA - One of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former top aides faces more legal trouble.

The Mounties have charged Bruce Carson with three counts of prohibited lobbying and one count of influence peddling.

"These charges are the result of his lobbying activities on behalf of the Canada School of Energy and Environment and on behalf of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada," RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Lucy Shorey said in an email.

Carson was previously charged with one count of fraud on the government for illegally lobbying the federal government on behalf of a company that employed his girlfriend — a charge he denies.

That trial, which has been postponed while Carson dealt with a health issue, is scheduled to begin later this month.

Carson is scheduled to appear in the Ottawa courthouse on June 18 to face the latest charges.

Harper's office first called the RCMP on Carson after allegations connected to a news investigation by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. The matter was also referred to the office of the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner and the commissioner of lobbying.

The network reported that Carson had allegedly been lobbying Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and the then-minister's office on behalf of an Ottawa-based water company that employed his girlfriend. They were allegedly trying to sell water filtration systems to aboriginal reserves with water quality problems.

It subsequently came to light that Carson was hired by the Prime Minister's Office in 2006 despite having a criminal record, which he disclosed at the time, and after having been disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

It also emerged that Carson received court-ordered psychiatric treatment before becoming one of Harper's closest advisers.

Those revelations prompted opposition questions about screening processes inside the PMO.

Carson was one of the more experienced hands in Harper's generally young government when it came to power in 2006, having worked in politics for decades.

Many Conservatives lamented his departure when he left for Calgary in 2008 to take up posts at the Canada School of Energy and Environment and the Energy Policy Institute of Canada.

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