POLITICS

Pamela Wallin May Be Asked To Pay More By Senate Committee

08/15/2013 09:46 EDT | Updated 10/15/2013 05:12 EDT
CP
Senator Pamela Wallin will likely be asked to pay back more than the $121,348 already being sought by a Senate committee following a review of an extra $20,978 in expenses that auditors said were "subject to interpretation."

The Deloitte audit on travel expenses Wallin charged to the Senate since early 2009 identified dozens of occasions where she attended "networking events" and other events including speeches. The auditors said a Senate steering committee should decide whether the travel claims should be allowed.

The three members of the steering committee began the review Wednesday, and CBC News has learned that some of those expenses are problematic.

"Based on our review yesterday and subject to some further research from Finance, it would certainly appear so," Conservative Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen said Thursday about whether Wallin will be repaying some of the $20,978.

Examples of the networking events include business lunches and dinners, receptions, and meetings.

Condo in Toronto

Wallin said Monday before the audit was released publicly on Tuesday that she would repay the amount she is asked to by the Senate, with interest, but she disputed the audit process. She called it flawed and unfair.

The audit found a long list of travel expense claims where Wallin said she was on Senate business when she was not and it also said her many stopovers in Toronto on her trips between Ottawa and Saskatchewan meant added and unnecessary costs for taxpayers.

Wallin owns a condo in Toronto and the audit found she spent a majority of her time in the city, not in Ottawa or Wadena, Sask., which she says is her primary home.

The former journalist already paid back $38,369 because of "mistakes" she said she made that involved charging the Senate for personal travel. She started paying that money back in the fall when her expenses were coming under scrutiny.

With Wallin already repaying some of the $121,348 in ineligible expenses, according to the auditors, that left $82,979 to repay. Now it appears as though she could be asked to pay back some or all of the $20,978 worth of claims that auditors said are unclear.

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