Lawmakers cite possible probe
AUSTIN | Texas House officials criticized one of their own members Tuesday for billing both his campaign and taxpayers for the same travel expenses, saying the reimbursements might prompt an internal investigation, criminal probe or both.
State Rep. Joe Driver acknowledged to the Associated Press on Monday that for years he has been pocketing thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for expenses that his campaign already had funded. The Republican is vowing to rectify any “inadvertent” billing mistakes he has made.
Mr. Driver, presented with findings from the AP, said that for years he has been submitting the same receipts - for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals and fees - to both his campaign and to the Texas House of Representatives. He also has been collecting thousands of dollars in state mileage reimbursements for travel in vehicles for which his campaign has shelled out more than $100,000 since 2000.
GOP Rep. Chuck Hopson, chairman of the House General Investigating & Ethics Committee, said he has called the Travis County district attorney to determine whether a criminal investigation is under way while he contemplates his own internal probe of conduct “that doesn’t make the rest of legislators look good.”
Mourners honor Rostenkowski
CHICAGO | Inside the Chicago church where he was baptized and confirmed, former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski was remembered Tuesday as a guy from the neighborhood who just happened to be one of the most powerful men in the nation.
An 18-term congressman whose illustrious political career ended with an ignominious corruption conviction and prison stint, Mr. Rostenkowski grew to be one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress. He was credited with pushing through a 1986 overhaul of the nation’s tax system and leading the 1983 effort to rescue Social Security from insolvency.
His funeral Mass - which was attended by hundreds of people including Mayor Richard Daley and New York Congressman Charles B. Rangel - was a formal send-off for a one-time pillar of American power. But it felt like a gathering of old friends, who told stories about a man known as “Poppi” to his only grandson and as “Danny,” “Rosty” and “Boss,” to his former colleagues and friends.
Bell cuts taxes amid scrutiny
BELL | The City Council, embroiled in a pay and pension scandal, unanimously voted Tuesday to lower property taxes after a state audit showed it overcharged residents to cover pension costs for exorbitantly paid staffers.
In a meeting that lasted nearly nine hours, the council also gave control over the next municipal election to Los Angeles County and cut copying fees for public records.