OTTAWA — Former Conservative Sen. Pamela Wallin could soon be charged now that the RCMP has handed over its probe to Crown prosecutors, reports CTV.
Reporter Bob Fife, citing unnamed sources, said the RCMP had concluded an 18-month investigation into Wallin's personal and partisan travel charges and given it to the Crown.
Wallin was booted from the Tory caucus and later suspended from the Senate after an audit by accounting firm Deloitte found more than a $120,000 in questionable expense claims. The Senate referred her file to the RCMP.
After her travel expenses for 2009, 2010, and 2011 raised red flags in his own office, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Canadians in February 2013 that Wallin's expenses were perfectly above board.
"I've looked at the numbers. Her travel costs are comparable to any Parliamentarian travelling from that particular area of the country over that period of time," Harper said in the Commons. By then, the former broadcaster had already repaid $38,000 for inappropriate claims.
She later paid another $100,000 when the Deloitte audit concluded she had claimed about 80 trips to corporate board meetings, personal social events and political appearances that shouldn't have been expensed to the taxpayer.
Wallin called the Deloitte report "fundamentally flawed and unfair" and said some of the charges were due to the fact that she was determined to be an "activist senator."
"When invited to appear publicly and speak ... I saw it as my duty to accept whenever I was able to do so. Travel to these public speeches and appearances was — and is, in my continuing view — a legitimate Senate expense," she told reporters in August 2013.
Wallin, who was appointed to represent Saskatchewan, was told to refund the Senate a total of $138,969.
In November 2013, court documents revealed that RCMP investigators believed Walllin had committed fraud and breach of trust by filing false expense claims. These allegations have not been proven in court nor has Wallin yet been charged with anything.
If charges are approved, she would be the fourth senator — the third appointed by Harper — to face trial.
Senators Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Mac Harb are each waiting for their day in court. Duffy's trial, which began this spring and resumed in August for two weeks, picks up again on Nov. 18.