Sen. Pamela Wallin committed fraud, breach of trust, RCMP alleges
Published Friday, November 1, 2013 3:47PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, November 1, 2013 10:19PM EDT
The RCMP is alleging that Sen. Pamela Wallin defrauded the Senate and committed breach of trust by filing inappropriate expense claims, and that perceived irregularities over her expenses were flagged several times since 2009.
The allegations are outlined in court documents seeking to obtain evidence as part of the Mounties’ ongoing investigation into Wallin’s expenses.
Among other materials, RCMP investigators are asking for various versions of Wallin’s electronic calendar from 2009 to 2013, her travel expense forms and receipts, her credit card billing statements and Senate attendance records.
None of the allegations in the documents have been tested or proven in court. Wallin has not been criminally charged.
In a request to obtain a production order, RCMP Const. Michael Johnson writes that the Senate’s director of finance, Nicole Proulx, told investigators that there have been issues with Wallin’s expenses since 2009.
Proulx said she and the Senate clerk spoke with Wallin about her expense claims on several occasions. She said the “whole issue” centred on claims related to Wallin’s travel to Toronto, where the senator owned a condo and frequently stopped en route to Saskatchewan or Ottawa.
On June 4, 2009, for example, Wallin flew from Ottawa to Toronto and claimed the expense as “Senate business.” According to the court filings, Wallin later said that she was attending an awards gala.
The gala started at 5:30 p.m. that day, but Wallin’s flight did not land in Toronto until after 9:05 p.m., according to the document.
A Deloitte audit had flagged $121,348 in inappropriate travel expenses claimed by Wallin, and the Senate committee later determined she owed another $17,621, bringing her total tab to $138,969. Wallin has since repaid those expenses.
Wallin has claimed that her primary residence is in Wadena, Sask., but the Deloitte review found that her income tax return and health card “did not match the primary residence,” according to Johnson’s court filing.
According to the filing, Deloitte auditors also noted that entries in three versions of Wallin’s Microsoft Outlook calendar had been changed more than 391 times.
In 2010, some of Wallin’s expense claims were rejected, but she “took issue” with that and complained to the Senate’s internal economy steering committee. The committee ultimately sided with Wallin and her claims were paid.
Proulx told investigators that she spoke “more seriously” with Wallin in January 2012 about her “travel irregularities,” including the high cost of her car services and frequent stopovers in Toronto.
Both a Senate finance clerk and a former Wallin staffer raised issues about the Senator’s spending in 2011 and 2012.
A letter from the former staffer prompted a second, more comprehensive internal review of Wallin’s expenses, according to the court documents. The staffer had made “serious allegations” about Wallin’s claims and bookkeeping, it’s alleged.
Investigators also interviewed Sen. Marjory LeBreton, then the government leader in the Senate, who said she does not believe that Wallin has committed any criminal offence or tried to scam the system.
However, “Senator LeBreton feels that Senator Wallin has a sense of entitlement,” the court filing states.
The Senate is currently debating whether to suspend Wallin, along with Senators Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau, whose expenses are also being investigated by the RCMP.
The Mounties are also investigating former Liberal Sen. Mac Harb’s living and housing expenses. Harb resigned from the Senate in August.
Wallin has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. She has accused the Senate internal committee of forming a “lynch mob” and said that LeBreton and Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen have “personal vendettas” against her.
She has also said that the Senate audit process was “fundamentally flawed” and unfair.
Court Documents - Information to Obtain a Production Orders: