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Top lawmaker reimburses expenses

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POSTED: September 29, 2012 9:38 a.m.

ATLANTA — Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has repaid $8,500 to his campaign account after facing questions over how he funded publications sent to residents in his district, his lawyer said Thursday.

State records show the Republican lawmaker sought reimbursements from his official expense account to cover the cost of mailings that his campaign also reported funding. Lawmakers are not supposed to use state-funded mailers for political purposes.

Rogers attorney Doug Chalmers said that his client did not break any laws. He said state lawmakers can legally use campaign funds to pay for legitimate expenses related to their official duties, then seek reimbursement from the state. Chalmers said the publications mailed to constituents were not political and focused instead on informing constituents about the work of the General Assembly and general government issues.

"He did not need to cut that check back as a matter of law," Chalmers said. "He made that purely voluntarily in order to avoid an appearance of impropriety."

Chalmers said Rogers could legally keep the money reimbursed by the state since Rogers has loaned his campaign thousands of dollars that have not yet been repaid.

The expenses were first reported by the investigative website Atlanta Unfiltered. In two cases this year, receipts from a printing company show that fliers for which Rogers sought reimbursement were billed to his campaign. The Legislative Fiscal Office tells lawmakers that Georgia law does not allow them to seek reimbursement from their legislative expense accounts for items that are paid with campaign contributions.

 

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