Pamela Wallin repays $100K in expenses, blames Senate 'lynch mob'
'I have not done anything wrong,' Wallin says as she vows to remain a senator
Senator Pamela Wallin says she has sent personal cheques totalling $100,600.98 plus interest to the federal government to repay expense claims as ordered by a Senate committee last month.
The Senate's internal economy committee had given Wallin 30 days to repay the money following the committee's review of an audit into her travel expenses by the independent accounting firm Deloitte. That deadline would have been Monday, Sept. 16.
The Senate confirmed late Friday it had received the cheques, payable to the Receiver General, for $100,600.98 and $13,938.19. The latter amount was for interest calculated at the rate of prime plus one per cent, as the committee had recommended in its review last month.
Friday's payment is in addition to $38,369 that Wallin previously repaid, before the Senate expenses scandal hit the headlines earlier this year.
In a statement issued Friday, the Saskatchewan senator said she fundamentally disagrees with the methods employed by the auditors in finding her expenses were ineligible, and said she made the expense claims in "good faith."
And, Wallin said, she will not resign as a senator.
"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 principle, nor have I been treated fairly by the Senate committee. Evidence that casts doubt on the correctness of the amounts owing was either ignored or disregarded during the review," Wallin said in the statement.
"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," she said.
But Wallin saves her harshest words for her Senate colleagues on the internal economy committee.
"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 said.
The committee referred its report into Wallin's expense audit to the RCMP, which has not said whether it is investigating Wallin. Nonetheless, she said in her statement she welcomes "an independent and objective review by the RCMP" and said she will co-operate with any investigation.
"I have not done anything wrong. I am not guilty of any misconduct. Accordingly I will not resign as a senator. I will continue to act for the people of Saskatchewan and Canada, fulfilling the duties of a senator that have been entrusted to me," her statement said.
Wallin is one of four senators — three former Conservatives and one former Liberal — whose expense claims were audited by Deloitte and reviewed by the Senate committee:
- Former Liberal senator Mac Harb last week repaid more than $231,000 in living expenses claimed since 2005, and then retired from the Senate. He left the Liberal caucus in June pending the outcome of an RCMP investigation.
- Mike Duffy repaid more than $90,000 in living expenses and per diems with help from a personal cheque by Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff. Wright resigned after the cheque came to light, and Duffy quit the Conservative caucus to sit as an Independent.
- Quebec Senator Patrick Brazeau's wages are being garnisheed to repay $48,000 in living expenses. He was forced out of the Conservative caucus and barred from the Senate earlier this year after being charged with assault and sexual assault in an unrelated incident.
- As the CBC's Greg Weston first reported this week, Wallin put her condo in New York City up for sale last month.