Rep. Carol Kent Double-Dips on Expenses, Watchdog Says

The following is a press release sent in from the Stefani Carter for State Rep campaign:

Freshman Democrat State Representative Carol Kent received reimbursements worth thousands of dollars from campaign accounts and the state, according to a report by a California based watchdog group.

Dave Palmer, an ethics watchdog, reported that the Texas paid Kent's lodging expenses while Kent also sought $4,150, in expense reimbursements from her campaign account.

"Double-dipping is wrong," said Stefani Carter, a former prosecutor, and GOP nominee in District 102. "If the state is giving you money to cover your expenses in Austin, you should have the integrity not to have your campaign pay the expense too. Pocketing the money is stealing from taxpayers."

Palmer believes Kent committed fraud when the State defrayed costs for which the campaign already paid, according to Palmer's report, which alleges Kent violated federal law, Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code, §162. Tax expert and professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Lillian Mills, quoted in a Houston Chronicle story said that per diem pay generally is not taxable, "But you can't then use the same amount of expense to avoid paying tax on some other reimbursement like a draw out of that campaign fund," she said. "There may be a free lunch, but there are no second tax helpings."

The issue has snagged legislators around the state. Legislators in San Antonio and Houston and have been caught in the net and the investigation was just expanded to the DFW area.

Editorials and stories from around the state include:

San Antonio Express News Editorial board: Pocketing per diem troubling 

Houston Chronicle news story

"We already knew Kent is a big supporter of raising taxes, but now we find out how she wants to spend tax dollars,” said Carter. “If Kent were serious about solving Texas budget problems, the first thing she should do is not double dip on taxpayer dollars.”

Kent was elected in a squeaker in 2008 in a historically Republican district.

Comments

This is ridiculous.  Dallas deserves better.  Carol Kent should know better.   We knew she was a liberal but give me a break.   You cannot take a state stipend for expenses and then ask the campaign to pay those expenses, too.  I don't see how that is not double-doubling.  Texas House deserves real leaders, and fiscal conservatives, not more of the same.  No wonder her fiscal rating for the state is so low!
 

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