Senators Brazeau, Harb to repay thousands in living expenses
Published Monday, May 6, 2013 10:02PM EDT
Two senators whose housing and meal expenses were audited will have to repay tens of thousands of dollars, CTV News has learned.
Liberal Sen. Mac Harb will have to repay more than $100,000 while Independent Sen. Patrick Brazeau will be asked to reimburse the taxpayers about $30,000.
Special Senate caucuses will be held on Thursday, when members of the Red Chamber will debate whether to refer the forensic audits to the RCMP.
Conservative Sen. Pamela Wallin was also being audited for her travel expenses. The auditors were alarmed by what they saw and have decided to look at all of Wallin’s travel expenses since she was appointed to the Senate in 2009, CTV News has learned.
CTV previously reported that Wallin had repaid a substantial amount of money before auditors were called in.
Independent forensic auditors also pored over Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy’s expenses, but he has already paid back more than $90,000 for claiming his P.E.I. cottage as his primary residence even though he’s been a long-time Ottawa resident.
Harb and Brazeau’s housing and meal expenses were reviewed after concerns were raised about their taxpayer-funded living allowances.
Harb came under scrutiny after it was revealed that he’s rarely seen at an Ottawa Valley home he claims is his primary residence.
Harb has told the Senate that his primary home is a bungalow in the village of Westmeath, located more than 100 kilometres northwest of Ottawa. But neighbours told CTV earlier this year that no one seems to live in the house year-round.
Senators can claim an annual housing allowance of up to $22,000 if their primary residence is more than 100 kilometres from Ottawa.
Harb, a former MP, has kept a residence in Ottawa for years and he owns four condos in the city. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Brazeau has also said that he did nothing wrong when he listed his father’s Maniwaki, Que., home as his primary residence and collected a housing allowance, even though he lived in a house in Gatineau, a short drive from Parliament Hill.
Brazeau was kicked out of the Conservative caucus earlier this year because of an unrelated criminal matter.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife