The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is looking into accusations that three Canadian senators – Patrick Brazeau, Mac Harb and Mike Duffy – were improperly claiming a housing allowance for homes outside the Ottawa area, despite not spending a majority of their time in those residences. The report was released by independent and external auditors who were looking into the three senators’ living expense. The New Democratic Party (NDP) and Liberals in the Senate have called for a criminal investigation by the RCMP and were disappointed that the auditors’ review did not expressively recommend such an investigation.
Deloitte auditors tracked the movement of Harb, Brazeau and Duffy on a daily basis and examined their mobile phone records, travel calendars, bank account statements and other documents to determine how much time they spent at their primary residence. The findings by Deloitte strongly suggest that the senators did not spend the majority of their time at their claimed primary residence. If they are on Parliamentary business in Ottawa, senators are allowed up $22,000 to cover their living expenditures, such as meals and accommodations, provided that their primary residence is at least 100 kilometers away.
Edward Prutschi was a special expert guest on CTV News to discuss the laws that may have been breached by the senators if these allegations are found to be true, and how a criminal investigation by the RCMP might play out. From what we know so far, Mr. Prutschi states that if the senators are criminally charged, they will most likely face fraud allegations. Mr. Prutschi discusses that like all fraud charges, the Crown will have a tall task in trying to prove that the senators intentionally lied on their forms and were knowingly doing something illegal and fraudulent.