Canadian Sen. Pamela Wallin, who is being investigated for expense claims, claimed $40,000 in travel expenses in the 3-month-period ending May 31. Of that, $24,000 was for travel to her home in Saskatchewan, $16,000 for travel elsewhere.
The former broadcaster is still being audited on behalf of the Senate by the private accounting firm, Deliotte, for travel expenses she's billed since her appointment. Of the $321,000 she has had billed before these latest figures came out, she's been ordered to pay back, and has paid back, $38,000.
Another $21,000 in expenses is being targeted by Deliotte, who expanded their probe to include all of Senator Wallin's expense claims since she entered the Senate in January of 2009 after initially just looking into her 2012 expense claims. Deliotte has said they'll complete their audit this summer but have not given a specific date.
Senator Wallin: change in travel expense billing
These new records in Senator Wallin's travel expense claims are a reversal of her claims of the past. In the past she claimed more money on travel to destinations other than her home in Saskatchewan than to her home in Saskatchewan.
As the country's Globe and Mail newspaper pointed out: "Senate records show that she claimed an average of about $3,000 on travel to Saskatchewan and $35,000 on other travel during the past three years."
Her switch to billing more in travel to Saskatchewan in the past 3 months than elsewhere comes after having come under scrutiny for having billed, as those numbers illustrate, far more for travel to places other than her home province. Much of that travel billed was for travel to Toronto, where she has a condo and business interests. Having her home in Saskatchewan allows her to collect more money on her senate residency claims.
Further, CTV reported earlier this month that during years that she filled out senate forms listing her primary residence as Saskatchewan, Wallin was listing her primary residence as Toronto when filling out forms relating to her position on the Board of Directors of the Toronto-based investment firm Gluskin Sheff and Associates Inc. . She began making that claim in 2006 and kept making it until her recent resignation from that board.
Wallin: mound of paperwork
Last week she told Peter Mansbridge during an interview with the CBC that the amount of paperwork she must fill out as a senator was to blame for the errors that have been exposed thus far.
"I think anybody understands that when you are dealing with mounds of paper you're going to make some mistakes," she said. "I am sorry for doing that. I wish I'd paid better attention." She added that she "didn't think I deliberately set out to use the system or abuse the system."
Sen. Wallin, who earns $132,000 yearly in her post, stepped down from the Conservative caucus and is sitting as an independent until the audit and its findings are known. Three other senators, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau, also Conservatives, and Mac Harb, a Liberal, are also being investigated and sitting as independents.