Sharon Carstairs loses appeal to have $80K legal fees covered by Senate

Sharon Carstairs loses appeal to have $80K legal fees covered by Senate

A former Manitoba senator will have to pay her own legal fees after a Senate committee denied her appeal for reimbursement.

Sharon Carstairs said she racked up $82,023.10 in legal fees after getting caught up in the senate scandal

Carstairs made her appeal March 2 to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. The committee, which is chaired by Senator Leo Hausakos, reserved its decision for March 9.

The 18-member committee discussed the appeal for 16 minutes on Thursday with only rookie, independent senator Frances Lankin asking questions about the process.

In the end, the committee decided to uphold the previous decision not to reimburse Carstairs for more than $80,000 in legal fees. 

CBC News reached out to Carstairs, but she was not immediately available for comment.

Auditor: Not enough time spent in Manitoba

In June 2015, Auditor General Michael Ferguson reported Carstairs made $7,528 in ineligible expense claims for her secondary residence and travel she took after she retired in 2011.

The audit stated that Carstairs didn't spend enough time in Manitoba to make secondary residence expense claims, which Carstairs has always disputed. 

Carstairs said there were no rules for the number of days a senator needed to spend in their home province in order to make expense claims. She also maintained that her post-retirement claims were legitimate in order to finish up Senate business and close her Winnipeg office.

Carstairs refused to pay the money back or take part in binding arbitration with former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie.

The Senate referred Carstairs' file, along with eight others, to the RCMP in 2015. The RCMP announced it would not pursue criminal charges against Carstairs last August.