MLAs fess up over expense report
— 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.