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Sen. Mac Harb owes more than $230,000: Senate

OTTAWA – Sen. Mac Harb owes more than $230,000 to taxpayers, money that stretches back seven years, according to outgoing internal economy chair Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk.

Tkachuk said Harb owes $231,649.07 in living expenses going back to the year 2005-06. He said the finance committee did the tally but can only go as far back as seven years.

Harb resigned from the Liberal caucus last month after an independent audit found he wrongly collected $51,500 in Senate housing allowances.

He consequently hired a lawyer, determined to fight the finding in court. He did not immediately respond to request for comment Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau told Global News last week Harb will have a place back in the Liberal caucus, so long as he pays his dues once an investigation into his expense claims wraps up.

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Tkachuk stepped down from the committee Tuesday for health reasons. The internal economy committee ordered external audits of housing and living allowance claims by three senators —Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Harb — and the travel expenses of Pamela Wallin.

Brazeau is also fighting an order to pay back almost $50,000. An audit into Wallin’s travel expenses isn’t expected until the fall.

Conservative Sen. Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, who also sits on the committee, said senators are going back to the finance committee to ask for an update into Brazeau’s expenses.

“Senator Duffy’s is settled, they went back and did the entire review. And I’m still waiting for the audit on Senator Wallin,” she said.

The committee was under fire recently, accused of whitewashing a report into Duffy’s expenses after he paid back $90,000 in ineligible expenses, with a personal cheque from former chief of staff Nigel Wright.

Tkachuk told Global News he had discussions with the prime minister’s office during the investigation into Duffy’s expenses but denied the report was whitewashed and said changes were made to Duffy’s report because he’d paid back his expenses.