first_imgAPTN National News OTTAWA–Algonquin Senator Patrick Brazeau has been told to pay back at least $48,000 following an audit into his claimed living expenses.The Senate committee on internal economy issued the edict Thursday following the release of audits into Brazeau’s living expense claims along with those of Conservative Senator Mike Duffy and Liberal Senator Mac Harb.Duffy has already paid back $90,000. Harb has been told to pay back about $51,482, but the Liberal Senator plans to challenge the report’s conclusions in court.Brazeau, who was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and was once tapped as a government spokesperson on the murdered and missing women’s file, is already facing assault and sexual assault charges against his former partner. He has since been kicked out of the Conservative caucus.Brazeau had claimed his father’s home in Maniwaki, Que., as his primary place or residence, but also rented a house in Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa. Maniwaki is about 130 km north of Ottawa.The audit, conducted by Deloitte, found that Brazeau spent only 57, or 10 per cent, of the 549 days examined in Maniwaki.Senators are allowed to claim up to $22,000 in living expenses if their primary residence is more than 100 kilometres outside Ottawa.Brazeau has been asked to pay back a total of $48,746 in living expenses and mileage.The audit found that Brazeau was in Ottawa for 443 days, or 81 per cent of the time reviewed. In that time period, he spent 76 days, or 14 per cent, on Senate business in the capital, but could not account for the remaining 317 days, or 58 per cent, he spent in Ottawa, concluding, “the nature of which is unknown.”The audit also could not “identify visits to Maniwaki during the months of December 2011 and March 2012.The audit also examined Brazeau’s travel claims for trips between Ottawa and Maniwaki, but could only find evidence for 11 of the 28 days he claimed.“Given the relatively short travel distance between Ottawa/Gatineau and Maniwaki, it is possible that Senator Brazeau travelled to Maniwaki…without making purchases at stores or using his cell phone,” said the audit. “Overall, we have assessed that all of the trips between Ottawa/Gatineau and Maniwaki claimed by Senator Brazeau did take place or could have taken place.”The audit examined credit card records, cell phone records, bank accounts and a personal income tax return along with the senators’ travel expense claims and filings.Liberal Senator James Cowan, leader of the opposition in the Senate, said he believes the police should look into the matter now.Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton, the government leader in the Senate, said she didn’t feel police involvement was necessary because the rules around travel and living expenses were unclear.The Senate now plans to tighten its rules.Harb is no longer part of the Liberal caucus. Duffy is still in the Conservative caucus.last_img

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