Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pamela Wallin's Version of Events on Expenses Differs from That of Senate

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pamela Wallin's Version of Events on Expenses Differs from That of Senate

Article excerpt

Wallin's version at odds with Senate's

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OTTAWA - Sen. Pamela Wallin's timeline of when she identified problems with her expenses predates the Conservative government's defence of their former senator in the House of Commons and the media.

And Wallin's assertion that Senate bookkeepers failed to detect mistakes in her travel claims that she later spotted appears to be at odds with the upper chamber's version of events.

Conservative Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen and Liberal Sen. George Furey tell The Canadian Press that Senate finance officials formally brought irregularities to the attention of their committee in early November last year.

The three-senator steering group of the internal economy committee then forwarded the travel-claim matter to independent auditors on Nov. 29.

Wallin told CBC television's chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge on Thursday that she identified problems before the audit.

"The problems that we discovered -- and long before there was any audit, my office got on this -- I've got a staff of two and me and we spent every night, and we are still there, going through," Wallin said.

"So we started to see problems, where things that should have been charged to a third party weren't."

Wallin also said she kept Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff Nigel Wright "in the loop" as her office sorted through the expenses. She had also told Wright she had paid back some of the money.

If Wallin had indeed detected problems before auditors acquired her file in November and began paying back expenses, neither she nor any other Tory said so in February when the issue blew open in the media.

Harper told the Commons on Feb. 13 he had reviewed her numbers and had no concerns. Wallin also revealed nothing about her unilateral probe of her books when she wrote an op-ed in the Globe and Mail. …

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