Senate committee told about Wallin expense concerns 18 months ago

The Canadian Press
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OTTAWA — The Senate subcommittee that has been reviewing questionable expenses was warned roughly a year-and-a-half ago that there were potential problems with Pamela Wallin’s travel claims.

But that group of three senators didn’t send the matter to outside auditors until a year later.

Senate sources tell The Canadian Press that Senate finance officials brought their concerns about Wallin’s travel to the three-person steering group inside the internal economy committee in late 2011 or early 2012.

Sen. David Tkachuk, the chairman of the committee, then offered to address the issue with Wallin directly, sources say.

When the issue of Wallin’s frequent travel to Toronto was raised again a year later, Conservative Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen and Liberal counterpart George Furey insisted it be sent to an independent audit firm.

When asked about the chronology of events, Stewart Olsen said it’s the role of the steering group to forward expense irregularities for review when necessary.

“In Sen. Wallin’s case, we made the decision that the whole file should go forward to an external auditor, just to make sure that taxpayers’ money was properly looked after,” she said.

The report from that audit is expected to come out in late July. It is uncertain whether the Senate committee will be reconvened to deal with its findings.

Wallin has reportedly paid back tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses already. She resigned from the Conservative caucus late last month.

She has said little about the matter publicly, except that she is waiting for an objective review of her expenses to end before responding to questions.

Tkachuk resigned as committee chairman Tuesday, saying he is about to begin cancer treatment.

He has been criticized for his handling of the expenses review, which has embroiled former Conservatives Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau, as well as former Liberal Mac Harb.

During the audit into Duffy’s expenses, Tkachuk contacted Duffy to ask him about a questionable claim that had been raised by the auditor. Opposition parties accused Tkachuk of tipping Duffy off to what was supposed to be a confidential review.

In addition to raising alarm bells about Wallin, Senate finance administrators had also rejected repeated living allowance claims by Duffy. Those rejected claims did not come out until a thorough review of his expenses was completed and made public at the committee two weeks ago.

Organizations: Canadian Press, Senate committee

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Toronto

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Recent comments

  • marilyn
    June 12, 2013 - 09:04

    I guess our Ag should find the person or person who approved the claim .you may have workers in payroll who were told to approve this .find them first .than let the games begin .no worker in government will take the blame for this .this is were the story will get interesting (not that its not now).we are holding our breath with anticipation

  • Wallin
    June 11, 2013 - 22:19

    "She has said little about the matter publicly" now there's a hint. This audit should not be taking so long. Who approved the payments??

  • Leah
    June 11, 2013 - 20:27

    The continuous political trend apparently means "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." And, thus, the abuse of taxpayers' money just keeps on rolling and rolling, and lies and cover-ups and deceit keeps getting bigger and bigger. They shouldn't even have the option of paying back the stolen money and then get off free without any criminal consequences. Any ordinary citizen who did this to an employer (yes, WE ARE THEIR EMPLOYERS) would be under arrest.

  • Wayne F.Craik
    June 11, 2013 - 19:05

    Paying back fraudulent expenses does not cure the illegal unethical conduct.They should be expelled from the senate with no benefits or pension.I think That they should see court and face the judge and jury.

    • Bob
      June 12, 2013 - 15:33

      Fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing Wayne. It won't happen as long as they govern themselves.Locally I remember under the Grimes administration one of his teacher buddies retired with a payment far in excess of his entitlement. Grimes did nothing! That guy is front and center today heralding everything Liberal. He even ran for a seat once. He should crawl into a hole and stay there.