OTTAWA – Sen. Pamela Wallin has paid back her dubious travel claims, although she did so with gritted teeth, accusing some fellow senators of succumbing to a “lynch mob” mentality.
The embattled Saskatchewan senator says she gave the Senate personal cheques Friday amounting to $100,600, plus interest. That’s on top of the $38,000 she has already repaid.
Wallin sounded bitter about an outside audit that called into question a litany of travel claims spanning nearly all of her career as a senator, which began late in 2008.
“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 principles, nor have I been treated fairly by the Senate committee,” she said in a statement.
“Evidence that casts doubt on the correctness of the amounts owing was either ignored or disregarded during the review.”
The Senate called in the RCMP after auditors flagged $121,348 in inappropriate expenses. A Senate committee later determined Wallin owed another $17,621, bringing her total tab to $138,969.
Wallin has denounced the audit as “fundamentally flawed and unfair.”
“When I submitted expense claims, I did so 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,” Wallin said Friday.
“Unfortunately, the Senate committee succumbed to a ‘lynch mob’ mentality. There was no regard to procedural or substantive fairness. I am disappointed and angry about the way in which this matter was handled, and any implication that I behaved dishonestly.”
Wallin is one of four senators in hot water over their expenses.
The Mounties are investigating the questionable housing claims of former Conservatives Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau as well as ex-Liberal Mac Harb.
Harb has since resigned from the Senate. But Wallin says she has no plans to follow suit.
“I welcome an independent and objective review by the RCMP and I intend to co-operate fully with any such review. I have not done anything wrong. I am not guilty of any misconduct,” she said.
“Accordingly I will not resign as a senator.”