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Housakos, Cowan repay Senate expenses, deny wrongdoing

Senate Speaker Leo Housakos is one of the Senate's two most influential members who have repaid expenses flagged by the auditor general and are backing down on their pledges to challenge his findings.
Senate Speaker Leo Housakos is one of the Senate's two most influential members who have repaid expenses flagged by the auditor general and are backing down on their pledges to challenge his findings. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Two of the Senate’s most influential members have repaid thousands of dollars in expenses flagged by Auditor General Michael Ferguson and are backing down on their pledges to challenge his findings.

Senate Speaker Leo Housakos and Senate Liberal leader James Cowan say they have repaid the money, even though they’ve both said they disagree with Ferguson’s conclusion that they filed improper expense claims.

READ MORE: Conservative senator resigns in wake of AG report

In a statement, Housakos says he has repaid about $6,000 for questionable contracts from his office and travel claims for one of his staff.

Cowan says he has repaid about $10,000 for travel Ferguson says wasn’t for parliamentary business.

READ MORE: A fair process now important even if Senate got it wrong for Duffy et al, Cowan says

Senate government leader Claude Carignan has also already repaid about $3,000 in dubious travel claims for one of his staff.

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Ferguson’s audit, which singles out nearly $1 million in problematic spending by some 30 senators, is scheduled to be released Tuesday.

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