The Campaign Spot

A Haircut That Could Cost Democratic State Senator John Morse

Out in Colorado, one of the pro-recall groups is hitting state senator John Morse for collecting his per diem for “haircuts and golf games.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ROTgvsXjXAo%3Frel%3D0

Morse and his defenders will undoubtedly respond that he’s been investigated and cleared of any illegal wrongdoing:

The per diem ethics complaint was filed in 2011 concerning expenses filed in 2009. All lawmakers are eligible to collect daily per diem during the 120-day legislative session, and Morris in 2009 was one of 11 lawmakers to bill for the full 120 days.

But Morse also billed taxpayers $99 a day for leadership pay on 206 or 239 days when the legislature is out of session, which lawmakers in leadership positions are allowed to do — that was the focus of the complaint.

The complaint was dismissed by a panel charged to investigate, but conservatives have continued to hit Morse over the per diem issue, even noting that the ethics committee that cleared him was dominated by Democrats.

A few details about that panel: “The ethics panel, comprised of three Democrats and two Republicans, reviewed the complaint and unanimously voted Tuesday to dismissed it, acknowledging that a senator’s word alone is sufficient for claiming legislative per diem payments.” In short, he said he did legislative work on those days, and that was good enough for them; no need to verify that he actually did work related to his state-office duties. The panel also decided to request new guidelines about how much time a lawmaker should devote to public business to claim a full day of payments.

Of course, a lawmaker’s choice to make the taxpayers pay for his haircut is the sort of thing that infuriates voters.

In Morse’s defense, he has a good head of hair:

If a lawmaker doesn’t want a per diem reimbursement appearing in an ad before a recall election, he probably shouldn’t take it.

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