Pamela Wallin pays back $100,600 'plus interest' to Senate
Senator Pamela Wallin, chair of the National Security and Defence committee, adjusts her glasses at the start of a meeting in Ottawa on Feb. 11, 2013. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Friday, September 13, 2013 4:49PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 13, 2013 6:19PM EDT
Embattled Sen. Pamela Wallin said Friday she has repaid more than $100,600 in expenses that the Senate decided she was not supposed to claim, and will not resign.
In a statement, Wallin said she has submitted personal cheques totalling $100,600, “plus interest,” to the Senate Finance Directorate.
The Senate said the interest amounted to $13,938.19.
Wallin had previously repaid $38,000.
An audit by the accounting firm Deloitte had flagged $121,348 in inappropriate travel expenses and the Senate committee later determined Wallin owed another $17,621, bringing her total tab to $138,969.
The former Conservative senator, who now sits as an Independent, faced a Sept. 16 deadline to repay all the money.
“Although I fundamentally disagree with the methodology used in arriving at that figure, particularly since the amount was calculated using newly created rules to examine past expenses, I do not want to burden the people of Canada and, in particular the people of Saskatchewan, by engaging in a protracted legal debate about the matter,” Wallin said in the defiant statement.
“I wish to make it clear. I was not treated fairly by the Deloitte review, which was not conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principle, nor have I been treated fairly by the Senate Committee. Evidence that casts doubt on the correctness of the amounts owing was either ignored or disregarded during the review.”
Wallin said she submitted her expense claims “in good faith, honestly believing that the reimbursement was appropriate.
“If mistakes were made, I am responsible for those, but there was never a deliberate attempt to thwart the travel policy that was in place at the time the claims were submitted.”
The Senate has forwarded the audit of Wallin’s expenses to the RCMP.
Wallin said Friday she welcomes the Mounties’ review, but the Senate committee tasked with reviewing expenses “succumbed to a “lynch mob” mentality.”
“I am disappointed and angry about the way in which this matter was handled, and any implication that I behaved dishonestly,” she said in her statement.
“I have not done anything wrong. I am not guilty of any misconduct. Accordingly I will not resign as a senator. I will continue to act for the people of Saskatchewan and Canada, fulfilling the duties of a senator that have been entrusted to me.”
The RCMP is also reviewing housing and living expenses claimed by former Conservatives Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau, as well as former Liberal Mac Harb, who recently resigned from the Senate.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, wrote Duffy a personal cheque in the amount of $90,000 to cover his ineligible expenses. The Mounties are also investigating that arrangement.
Brazeau’s Senate wages are now being garnisheed.