OTTAWA -- The Senate is staring down the possibility of heading to court over more expense claims just one day after Sen. Mike Duffy's was cleared on 31 charges.
Friday is a Senate-imposed deadline for seven of its former members to hand over almost $528,000 in claims the federal auditor general ruled should never have been charged to taxpayers.
The seven were among 30 senators flagged in the June 2015 report, but none chose to challenge the decision through an independent arbitration process.
The Senate chamber sits empty on September 12, 2014 in Ottawa. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)
The last of the senators who owed money after the arbitration process headed by former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie repaid the Senate for the wrongfully-claimed expenses at the start of the week.
The Senate has vowed to go to court to recoup the wrongfully-claimed cash from anyone who doesn't pay up on time and as of Friday morning, there was no indication the seven were about to pay up.
The expenses in question are not all that different from the ones that landed Duffy in court.
Duffy was cleared of 31 criminal charges by Ontario Court Judge Charles Vaillancourt on Thursday, ending a three-year saga with his expenses and allowing him back into the Senate with all the rights and privileges of his colleagues.
Vaillancourt ruled that Duffy's expenses didn't enter the realm of criminality even though they may raise eyebrows, including a consulting contract with his one-time personal trainer. The Senate's administrative rules allowed such spending, the judge said.
Those administrative rules are set to be updated as part of an overhaul of Senate spending guidelines and oversight stemming from the auditor general report.
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