So the big question - Why was Mulroney so stupid as to personally take envelopes of cash from an arms dealer? - could be explained this way: His bag man was dead. He wanted more money and had noone to get it for him, so he took a risk and collected it himself.
We will probably never know the truth of how much, if any, money Mulroney took "under the table" before Verchere's death. There are all sorts of indicators that he took other money:
- the Swiss bank accounts Britan and Devon that accontant Giorgio Pelossi says were opened for Mulroney by Schreiber
- the way Mulroney forced Air Canada to buy Airbus planes (including firing the entire board of Air Canada and appointing Airbus supporters)
- the overwhelming evidence that Mulroney pushed and pushed the Bear Head project for Schreiber, despite every government bureaucrat saying it was a bad plan
- the $20M "thank you" money routed through Schreiber from Airbus that hasn't been accounted for
- the $10M "thank you" money routed through Schreiber from Eurocopter and Thyssen
- the extraordinary and unprecedented access that Schreiber had to Mulroney while Mulroney was PM
- the large quantities of cash that moved through his basement safe at 24 Sussex
- the wild spending by Mila, in cash, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars a week while he was PM
- the million-plus Brian and Mila paid, in cash, to have their Westmount mansion restored in 1993-4
The Oliphant inquiry is ham-strung by only being able to investigate the Thyssen payments that Mulroney got from Schreiber. It's still a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of a crooked government.