Senate still reviewing $21K in additional Pamela Wallin expense claims

OTTAWA – The Senate hasn’t yet decided whether to order Sen. Pamela Wallin to pay back more money for her travel to so-called “networking events.”

But Conservative Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen says there are lingering questions about “quite a few” of those claims, which came to nearly $21,000.

Stewart Olsen says a Senate committee has reviewed the claims and asked the upper chamber’s finance unit to do additional research — work she says could take a while.

“Our committee did review the claims in question and asked Finance to do more research for us,” she said in an email Thursday.

“I do not have an idea of amounts right now. Will probably take some time to sort out.”

Some of those networking events include Wallin’s meeting with someone from the New York City Ballet; with a Bay Street investor to talk about a business she was about to buy; and with someone to talk about a book project.

The Senate called in the RCMP after an audit by accounting firm Deloitte flagged a host of inappropriate travel claims spanning nearly all of Wallin’s career as a senator, which began late in 2008.

The auditors flagged $121,348 in inappropriate expenses and called for further review of nearly $21,000 in additional claims, mostly for travel to what Wallin described as “networking events.”

Wallin has already repaid $38,000, and has said she would reimburse any disallowed expenses — with interest — out of her own pocket.

However, she has called the Deloitte audit — which cost $126,998, more than the total Wallin is now required to pay back — “fundamentally flawed and unfair.”