in Houston, Texas
Rep. Charlie Geren: Changes needed in reporting of expenses by Texas legislators
Wednesday, Dec 01, 2010, 04:07PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
txcapitol

Rep. Charlie Geren would like changes to the reporting of expenses by legislators making it tougher for colleagues like Rep. Joe Driver, who is now the focus of a criminal investigation for findings that he charged both the state and his campaign for tens of thousands of dollars for travel and other expenses.

 

In an Associated Press story today, Geren, R-Fort Worth, says he thinks legislators should be required to disclose reimbursements made for their expenses and to put in writing any time they believe they are entitled to taxpayer reimbursement. Geren says he intends to meet with House Speaker Joe Straus and the state Ethics Commission to press for these reporting changes.


The call for reform stems froma disclosure by Associated Press this past summer that Driver, R-Garland, had for many years had taken taxpayers and campaign reimbursement for the same expenses like luxury hotels, airline ticket and meals. Although he has steadfastly maintained he didn't know what he was doing was wrong, he did pay back $49,426 to his own campaign after the initial Associated Press inquiry.


Gregg Cox, head of an official corruption unit for the Travis County District Attorney's office, says, "We were presented a complaint that appeared to be sufficient to require additional investigation to determine whether or not the law was violated. Now that the election has passed the review, and the investigation is taking place."


Driver was re-elected to his tenth two-year term on Nov. 2.

 

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

 

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Photo of Texas State Capitol by flickr user roland, used via a Creative Commons license.

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