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In pictures: The four senators under investigation by RCMP

The RCMP is probing the expense accounts of four senators, three of whom were appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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Patrick Brazeau, appointed as a Conservative by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009:

Mr. Brazeau is facing questions about his living expenses – specifically, claiming costs for an Ottawa-area home that he appeared to be using as a primary residence.

A Deloitte audit released in May found that Mr. Brazeau was spending 81 per cent of his time in Ottawa. Senators from outside Ottawa can bill certain expenses to maintain a residence in the capital region.

The auditors found Mr. Brazeau – who listed Maniwaki, Quebec, as his primary residence – instead spent the majority of his time at a home he leased in Gatineau, across the river from Ottawa.

The auditors, however, found that the Senate’s rules on residency claims were murky. “The regulations and guidelines applicable during the period of our examination do not include criteria for determining ‘primary residence.’ As such, we are not able to assess the status of the primary residence declared by Senator Brazeau against existing regulations and guidelines,” they wrote.

Mr. Brazeau has been ordered to repay $48,745.13 in living and mileage expenses, and the Senate announced it would garnish his wages to recover the cash.

(Written by Josh Wingrove and Kim Mackrael / The Globe and Mail)

(Photo by Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press)

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Pamela Wallin, appointed as a Conservative by Prime Minister Harper in 2008:

Senator Pamela Wallin is being asked to repay $121,348 after an independent audit found a series of problems with the former broadcaster’s expense claims – including billing taxpayers for partisan fundraisers.

The release of the audit on August 13, 2013 gave new life to the ongoing Senate expenses scandal. Ms. Wallin’s case is different than the others, in that it focuses squarely on travel. The audit found Ms. Wallin racked up costs by attending a series of events, and regularly stopping in Toronto while flying between Ottawa, the capital, and Saskatchewan, her home province. It also found she had retroactively altered some of her schedule records as the review was continuing, something she said was done for clarity and to protect privacy.

Ms. Wallin has already repaid $38,369.29 and has pledged to repay whatever she owes, but called the audit process “flawed and unfair.”

(Written by Josh Wingrove and Kim Mackrael / The Globe and Mail)

(Photo by Chris Wattie / Reuters)

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Mike Duffy, appointed as a Conservative by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008:

Mr. Duffy’s expenses stirred the most controversy – he repaid $90,172.24, but did so only after receiving a cheque from the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, for the same amount.

Mr. Wright has since resigned, and RCMP have begun to investigate Mr. Duffy for breach of trust allegations. It wasn’t just how he paid the money back that had him in the spotlight. The audit found that Mr. Duffy filed Senate expenses on days he was campaigning for Conservative candidates, to whose campaigns he also submitted claims.

Mr. Duffy was also found to have spent 54 per cent of his time in the Ottawa area, and approximately 30 per cent of his time in Prince Edward Island, where he listed his primary residence. Auditors also identified a 12-day stretch when he claimed per diem expenses while in Florida.

(Written by Josh Wingrove and Kim Mackrael / The Globe and Mail)

(Photo by Chris Wattie / Reuters)

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Mac Harb, appointed as a Liberal by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 2003:

Mr. Harb kept a home just outside Ottawa, which he listed as his primary residence. As such, he was able to claim expenses on another residence in the city.

Auditors, however, found he spent the majority of his time in Ottawa, and 21 per cent of his time at his primary residence. A Senate committee found that “Senator Harb’s level of presence at his declared primary residence does not support such a declaration” or the expense claims.

Mr. Harb was ordered to repay $51,482.90, and did so in July “under protest” – meaning he hopes to get the money back through a legal challenge. That, however, only covered an 18-month window. The Senate committee also said that Mr. Harb ultimately owes a total of $231,649.07 in expenses claimed over eight years, a figure the senator disputes.

The RCMP are also investigating Mr. Harb, and alleged in a recent affidavit that one home was “uninhabitable” for three years while he was claiming it as his primary residence.

Mr. Harb has mortgaged his home and other properties in preparation for the legal battle.

(Written by Josh Wingrove and Kim Mackrael / The Globe and Mail)

(Photo by Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)

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