On May 9, the Senate's committee on internal economy tabled reports on the audits of expense claims by three senators. The audits were conducted by the outside firm Deloitte.
The reports recommended that Liberal Senator Mac Harb and Independent Senator Patrick Brazeau repay $51,000 and $48,000 respectively and placed the two senators' expenses under greater scrutiny for the next year. Both have since said that they will fight the findings of the committee, and Harb quit the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent while he seeks to overturn the report.
A third report on the expenses claimed by P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy differed from the other two. Two paragraphs are absent in the final report that said the language in the Primary and Secondary Residence Declaration form signed by all senators was considered to be "unambiguous" and that the intent of the Senate's guidelines are "very clear."
CBC News's Chris Hall reported Thursday the Duffy report was altered in the hours before it was tabled to remove the finding that Duffy's travel patterns do not support his declaration of a primary residence in P.E.I.
Senators must reside in the province they are appointed to represent, according to the Constitution Act.
The final report was the work of committee chair, Senator David Tkachuck, and Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former press secretary. A third member of the committee, Liberal George Furey, told the Senate May 9 that the final report's findings should not be deemed to be unanimous.
Opposition politicians allege the changes amount to a "whitewash," while Conservative senators say the final report merely acknowledges the fact Duffy had already repaid more than $90,000 he had claimed in expenses. That repayment came after a personal cheque was written by the prime minister's then chief of staff, Nigel Wright, who has since resigned.
Here are the draft and final versions of the Duffy report (pdfs):
Final report tabled May 9