in Houston, Texas
Texas House delays shredding records that could aid investigation into Rep. Joe Driver's double-billing of travel expenses
Wednesday, Sep 01, 2010, 01:48PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
shredder

Texas House administrators agreed to delay its annual shredding of travel reimbursement reports in cooperation with a Travis County investigation into alleged illegal double-billing by state Rep. Joe Driver.

Driver, R-Garland, told the Associated Press he and his campaign have also agreed to cooperate with District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who asked that the travel records for state representatives for fiscal year 2005 be preserved for her examination. House travel records are shredded after five years.


Lehmberg initiated an investigation after Driver told the Associated Press he had for years paid for his government travel with money from his campaign fund while billing for and receiving reimbursement for those same bills from tax funds. The AP's review showed he had double-billed for at least $17,431.55 in travel expenses since 2005. Driver, a state representative since 1993, said he never realized he was doing anything wrong.


According to a 1994 ruling by the Texas Ethics Commission, a representative receiving taxpayer-funded reimbursement for such expenses must return that reimbursement to his or her campaign fund.


The campaign earlier said Driver had put $49,426 into his campaign account, a figure calculated from reimbursements claimed on travel records that were not yet shredded. It is uncertain how much reimbursement Driver received between 1993 and 2004.

 

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org.


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