To sum it all up: there's no "there" there.
But there are a couple of thousand words.
The JS schnauzers found that our Leggies claim per-diems of $88.00/day and on the same days, ALSO spend money from their re-election accounts for political activity.
The per-diem statute is clear:
Lawmakers "shall be entitled to an allowance for expenses incurred for food and lodging for each day that he or she is in Madison on legislative business."
The important word in that sentence is "shall."
So when Leggie Lew goes to Madistan and spends a day in session--and then goes out to a campaign-related event that evening, where he spends $50.00, it's clear to me that use of BOTH funds is perfectly fine. He should get a campaign-fund reimbursement for the $50.00 AND his per-diem for spending the day in Madistan on Legislative business.
Note well: the law as written requires the full $88.00 payment. There's no "splitting" allowed--i.e., charging $60.00 to the State for mileage and hotel and $50.00 to the political fund for dinner.
Look at it this way:
If Leggie Lew went to Madistan and spent a day in session and went to a campaign-related event that evening, and billed the WHOLE day to his campaign fund, what would the Schnauzers say?
I'll TELL you what they'd say:
"Gott im Himmel!!! Leggie Lew's political contributors financed Lew's day in Madison!!!"
See how that works?
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Dad - As someone who lives and dies with per diem payments, I first thought that Leggie Lew may be running afoul of IRS per diem limits.
A quick check shows that Lew has carefully crafted his/her total per diem package to be at the IRS Pub. 1542 limit of $138 for Dane County.
Well done, I say. I wish I did that well.
Damn, he's good...for a SWAG...
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