MLAs fess up over ex­pense re­port

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM AY­ERS & CHRIS HAYES CAPE BRE­TON POST

— No one was re­leas­ing a list of MLAs with ex­penses ques­tioned in the au­di­tor gen­eral’s re­port this week, but sev­eral politi­cians — in­clud­ing two from Cape Bre­ton — have stepped for­ward and con­fessed to hav­ing their ex­penses iden­ti­fied in the re­port.

Michel Sam­son, Lib­eral MLA for Rich­mond, said he col­lected more than $1,200 in In­ter­net charges for his per­sonal apart­ment in Hal­i­fax that were charged to his con­stituency al­lowance.

How­ever, he added, a for­mer di­rec­tor of the speaker’s of­fice had ad­vised him the billing was ac­cept­able be­cause he used the In­ter­net to keep in touch with con­stituents.

The au­di­tor gen­eral’s re­port says the charges should have been cov­ered un­der monthly ac­com­mo­da­tion al­lowance.

“I did what I had been told to do,” said Sam­son, adding the au­di­tor gen­eral’s re­port iden­ti­fies two MLAs hav­ing charged In­ter­net ser­vices at their apart­ment to con­stituency al­lowances. One was re­im­bursed $1,540 and the other re­ceived $1,274.

Sam­son said he called the speaker’s of­fice, which ad­min­is­ters MLA ex­penses, and of­fered to pay the money back, but was told to wait un­til the Leg­is­la­ture In­ter­nal Econ­omy Board sorts out the whole is­sue.

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