OTTAWA - The group Democracy Watch says Stephen Harper is in a conflict of interest over the Mulroney-Schreiber affair -- and it wants the federal ethics commissioner to investigate.

Duff Conacher, who heads the group, has sent a letter to ethics commissioner Mary Dawson asking that she look into how the prime minister and his justice minister have handled the matter.

Conacher also wants Dawson to rule on "future potential actions and decisions by them and other cabinet ministers, cabinet staff, and senior officials."

The prime minister has appointed a special adviser to set out the terms of reference for a public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

But Democracy Watch says Harper shouldn't have picked the adviser given that he has acknowledged the government can't be impartial in how to handle the matter.

"When Canadians face allegations about themselves or their associates, they don't get to decide the limits of the investigation, control witnesses or choose their own judge, and neither should the prime minister, cabinet ministers or any other politician," said Conacher.