Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas won't face criminal probe over expenses
3 other New Brunswick senators whose expense claims were questioned in audit couldn't be reached for comment
At least one New Brunswick senator whose travel expenses were questioned in the Senate spending scandal has been told she won't be prosecuted by the RCMP.
"We were aware since the late fall of 2015 that Senator Lovelace Nicholas would not be investigated criminally by the RCMP with respect to her involvement with Senate expense issues," Burke said.
Last year's report by the federal auditor-general questioned why Lovelace Nicholas, who is from Tobique First Nation, had more than 40 stays of more than one night in Fredericton while commuting through the city on her way to and from Ottawa.
One of the stays lasted nine nights, the audit said.
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Lovelace Nicholas said at the time she often used Fredericton as a base for hearing from aboriginal groups as part of her Senate work.
"Obviously a great many individuals find it easier to meet with me in Fredericton than to travel to the Tobique First Nation," she wrote in an official response to the auditor-general's report.
The audit also questioned some other travel expenses, which Lovelace Nicholas defended as part of her Senate duties.
Arbiter's report expected Monday
At least 20 of 30 current or former senators named in last year's report by the federal auditor-general have been told they will not be prosecuted, CBC News confirmed on Wednesday.
Losier-Cool did not respond to a call to her home by CBC News. Her audit said she had claimed travel expenses based on Moncton being her primary residence, even though she appeared to live most of the time near Ottawa.
The two other senators whose office expenses were questioned in last year's audit were Joseph Day, a Liberal, and retired Senate speaker Noël Kinsella, a Conservative.
Kinsella and Day couldn't be reached Wednesday to confirm whether they've been told they will not be prosecuted by the RCMP.
Senators who disagreed with the auditor-general's findings were allowed to appeal the conclusions in private hearings with retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Ian Binnie.
Binnie is expected to release his report on the 14 appeals on March 21. Senators whom Binnie rules spent money improperly will have to repay the amounts in question.
Burke says he sought assurances from the RCMP last fall that the testimony Lovelace Nicholas gave to Binnie would not be used against her in any criminal prosecution.
"The RCMP had answered in the positive that they were not interested in pursuing a criminal investigation against her based on the information they had received from the auditor-general of Canada's office," he said.