Fifth senator lands in expenses controversy, denies improper claims

OTTAWA – Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen is denying a news report that she improperly claimed living expenses.

The Conservative senator, who is closely allied with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, says she’s reviewed the expenses in question with Senate finance officials and they’ve found nothing improper.

Stewart Olsen’s statement follows a report in The Huffington Post Canada, which alleges that the senator wrongly claimed more than $4,000 for accommodation and meals from December 2010 to February 2011 — even though the Senate was not sitting for most of that time and her calendar showed no public business in Ottawa during that period.

The Huffington Post quotes Stewart Olsen as saying she shouldn’t have claimed per diems for days when the Senate wasn’t sitting and promising to repay the money if a mistake was made.

However, in a terse statement issued later, she makes no mention of repayment or having erred.

Stewart Olsen was a key member of a Senate committee which sat in judgment on the dubious expense claims of four other senators, and recommended that the RCMP be encouraged to investigate the matter.

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