Dean Del Mastro, Stephen Harper’s right hand man could be in hot water with Elections Canada

Critics of the  Harper government must be enjoying this.

Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to the prime minister and the point man in defending his party in the recent robocalls scandal is now, himself, under investigation by Elections Canada.

According to a story in the National Post, Elections Canada has claimed that it has "reasonable grounds to believe offences were committed" by Del Mastro in connection with an invoice between Mastro's 2008 campaign and Holinshed Research Group - a voter ID company based in Ottawa.

A production order submitted in a small claims court dispute brought by Holinshed against Del Mastro purports that Del Mastro paid $21,000 to Holinshed for election expenses with a cheque drawn on his personal bank account — which, if proven to be a personal contribution, would dramatically exceed the $2,100 contribution limit for candidates.

Del Mastro is also suspected of incurring costs that breached his campaign's spending limit by more than $17,000.

Those violations are each punishable by a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment for as long as five years. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In a surprise television appearance on CBC's Power and Politics on Wednesday evening, Del Mastro emotionally denied any wrongdoing saying he didn't have a "specific memory" of the $21,000 cheque and that he hasn't been contacted by Elections Canada.

But not many are giving Del Mastro the benefit of the doubt.  In the court of public opinion, Del Mastro is getting slammed.

A couple of posters on Del Mastro's Facebook page wrote: "How can you not have "specific memory" of a $21,000 personal check?"

The Liberal Party of Canada issued a statement calling for Del Mastro's resignation.

"The Prime Minister's right-hand man and chief spokesperson on election fraud, Dean Del Mastro, must step down from his Parliamentary Secretary role and his position as government mouthpiece on the House of Commons Ethics Committee while Elections Canada investigates serious allegations of election overspending against him," they said.

"Mr. Del Mastro's role has been to breathlessly defend the government against serious electoral fraud allegations for months. Now we learn that he himself may have committed an election offense punishable by fines and up to five years in prison. He cannot continue to answer for this government when he has these allegations of possible misconduct looming over his head."

And the  blogosphere hasn't been very kind to the MP from Peterborough, either.

"One thing is for sure, Del Maestro is running scared. This could be the straw that broke the camels back, and it could be the rock upon which his political career floundered," wrote BlueGreen blogger.

"And another thing is for sure. The CPC in general, and Del Maestro in particular have taken no prisoners in the past, and they revel in destroying reputations and careers. Nobody, but nobody will shed a tear for him if he ends up sitting in a cell in one of his shiny new prisons."

More about Holinshed:

In 2009, according to CBC's Kady O'Malley, Holinshed received $125,000 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario -- a non-repayable loan to develop a sophisticated get-out-the-vote mapping application that was specifically designed to help local candidates win elections.

The company, once based in Ottawa, now no longer appears operational.