AUSTIN | A Texas state representative has pleaded guilty to a felony charge that he used tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to reimburse himself for travel expenses his campaign already had funded.
Prosecutors say Dallas-area Republican Rep. Joe Driver pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of official abuse of capacity. His sentencing is set for Dec. 19.
Prosecutors are recommending Driver be sentenced to five years’ probation and pay a $5,000 fine. They’ve also asked that he repay more than $14,000 to his campaign account and undergo any treatment and counseling recommended by the probation department.
Driver, who has already repaid more than $49,000, has announced plans to retire when his term ends in January 2013.
Messages seeking comment about the plea have been left at his offices.
Bachmann: Obama ‘AWOL’ at deficit crunch time
Rep. Michele Bachmann says America runs the risk of going the route of Greece on fiscal affairs, saying it’s time to “pick up a mirror and look into it.”
The Minnesota Republican, who’s seeking her party’s presidential nomination, tells “Fox and Friends” it’s tragic that the congressional supercommittee failed to reach agreement on a $1.2-trillion deficit-reduction deal.
And she blames President Obama for the problem, saying he was “AWOL” when crunch time came. Mrs. Bachmann says the president still “blames the people who are in the middle of the problem.” She asks, “We didn’t see this coming?”
Mrs. Bachmann added in the interview Tuesday: “We look at Greece, and it’s obvious what needs to be done. … We can’t afford a welfare state, so don’t do it anymore.”
Lawmaker to pay back cost of Scotland trip
A New Jersey congressman says he’s going to refund his campaign about $10,000 that it spent last June on his trip to the wedding of a donor and campaign adviser in Edinburgh, Scotland. He says the campaign will then donate the money to charity.
Democratic Rep. Robert E. Andrews said Tuesday that the campaign expense, which included $7,725 for a three-night stay at a five-star hotel, was legal, but that criticism of it was interfering with his work.