I didn't get very involved in the David Dingwall affair, and a big part of the reason was that the media and public seems to be overexcitable about expense claims. A number on a page doesn't tell you much without the context, but in the case of Dingwall, the number seems to have been the main factor freaking people out.
Now it seems that Dingwall may have been "completely exonerated" by an audit. He's threatening to sue MPs who portrayed his spending habits as an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars.
What this brings to mind are some comments on Warren Kinsella's blog back on October 21:
The reason it is so easy to do is because the same expenses that are routinely charged in the world of business sound silly and selfish when scandalously revealed by an opponent in Parliament.
I don't normally read Cherniak -- no particular reason -- but he seemed to be making sense when he wrote:
If you don't know exactly what the money was spent on and in what situations, then you don't know much. I wasn't reading all the news, so maybe there was good reason to assume that these expenses were crooked, but it appears to have been wrong. It turns out that it wasn't fair for Andrew to title his post "Liberal Ethics on Display" or to write "The Liberals have to go; men like David Dingwall, who treat the public purse like a piggy bank, and Jason Cherniak, who give him a free pass, are perfect examples of why they cannot be allowed to govern further." (Though I agree that we need a change of government.)
Then there is this comment, in which Andrew replies to another commenter (in italics):
Andrew is a class act, so I'm sure we will see that apology soon. Either that or he'll need to present good reason to doubt the Dingwall audit.
The political context for this is serious, however. Sloppy work by the Conservatives (again) is making them look bad, and will make it easier for the Liberals to escape the consequences of real scandals.