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State Rep. Joe Driver of Garland double-billed for travel

August 17th, 2010 . by TexasFred

State Rep. Joe Driver of Garland double-billed for travel

AUSTIN – State Rep. Joe Driver of Garland, who rails against the evils of runaway government spending, admitted Monday that he has pocketed thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for travel expenses that his campaign had already funded.

The veteran Republican legislator, faced with findings from an investigation by The Associated Press, acknowledged in an interview that for years he has been submitting the same receipts – for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals, fees and incidentals – to both his campaign and to the Texas House. He has also 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.

The AP’s review of hundreds of pages of state and campaign travel records found that Driver double-billed for at least $17,431.55 in travel expenses, much of it at upscale out-of-state hotels, since 2005. The number could go higher, but House travel records before mid-2005 have already been destroyed. Driver has been in office for 18 years. The double-billing figure does not include the vehicle expenses.

A conservative on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which oversees how state dollars are spent, Driver said he thought it was OK to bill two entities for the same expenses. He said he routinely pays hotels and airlines with donated political funds and then submits the same expenses to the state, taking the taxpayer money for himself.

Full Story Here:
State Rep. Joe Driver of Garland double-billed for travel

The above story is from the AP and The Dallas Morning News.

There is a definite left-leaning tilt to the words written by the AP and published by the DMN.

Dallas itself is a very LEFT leaning town, the voters of Dallas proper are by far, Democrats. But that is the City of Dallas, not Dallas County.

I live in Rowlett, we are in Dallas County. We are on the County line with Rockwall County. Part of Rowlett is IN Rockwall County. Thank GOD we’re not in Dallas proper. Rowlett is a mostly Conservative community and will likely remain that way.

Joe Driver is MY Representative in the Texas House, TX-113. His district takes in Rowlett as well as Garland, Sachse and part of Wylie. I have met Joe Driver. Not just a political handshake and a “Hi, how are you today?” thing, I have met the man and spent time talking TO and WITH him. And will be spending time with him again in the near future. He will be the 1st recipient of this post on email notification.

So, you’ve seen the DMN and AP story. In the spirit of ‘Fair and Balanced’, here is Joe Drivers side of the story, his official press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: August 16, 2010
CONTACT: Craig Murphy
PHONE: 817-845-0111
EMAIL: Craig@Murphyturner.com

Statement by State Representative Joe Driver on Associated Press Story

“After reviewing the facts with ethics specialists in the Texas House it is clear that an inadvertent mistake was made in my campaign expenses.

The key thing I must point out, however, is that despite the impression left by the AP story, NO expenses were incorrectly billed to the State of Texas. Any and all expenses were proper. My mistake was in not reimbursing my campaign for expenditures it covered while I was on State business. This was completely unintentional and I am correcting it immediately.

The mistake resulted from my trying to do what I believed I had been told to do. When the issue first arose, I did ask for ethics officials’ advice of how to properly handle it but I incorrectly interpreted their recommendation to me.

Upon hearing of this issue today, I brought in a CPA to analyze the statements and find any errors, I am rectifying oversights immediately. I am happy to have the chance to do that.

Two things I can state with certainty on this issue: not one tax dollar was misspent due to my mistake on this and any mistakes that were made are being corrected immediately.�

One of the things I DO know about Joe Driver is this, he is a man of his word and stands beside his beliefs.

From the Dallas Morning News story:

First elected to the House in 1992, he didn’t have “a clue” when he first began claiming reimbursements for travel paid for by his campaign, he said.

“If I knew it was wrong, I wouldn’t have done it that way,” Driver said. “I wouldn’t have done it just to make money.”

You know how you just have a feeling? After you’ve met someone, you can just tell if they are being honest with you or not? I believe Joe Driver is being honest, and has made an honest mistake. One that he is fully prepared to make immediate restitution for.

I always liked Tom DeLay, even with the allegations made against him, I still liked the guy.

When things were going off hot and heavy against DeLay I made this statement: “If the man is guilty of a crime(s), prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. If he’s innocent, get OFF of his ass, leave the man alone and let him go on with his life.”

I still feel that way today, whether it’s DeLay, Driver, Waters, Rangel, Dems or GOP. It makes me no difference. If a lawmaker is crooked and it can be proven, HANG HIM. If he’s innocent, shut up and walk away.

Talk is cheap, and apparently some Dems and their supporters are on the hunt for anything they can find or use to take away from the Conservative reputation of Joe Driver.

Here’s all I have to say about this to the Dems and those attacking Joe Driver, PUT UP OR SHUT UP! It’s that simple.

The man admitted he made a mistake and has offered full and immediate restitution. What else do you want? A pound of flesh?

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3 Responses to “State Rep. Joe Driver of Garland double-billed for travel”

  1. comment number 1 by: TexasFred


    TexasFred and Joe Driver
    Aug. 14, 2010

  2. comment number 2 by: Vigilante

    I agree, get off the mans ass.
    Too bad the AP doesn’t go after the turd in the whitey house. They could fill a book on crooked shit he’s guilty of.

  3. comment number 3 by: Robert

    What I heard this morning was a loud “Whew” from the Democrat party..They finally got someone without a D in front of their name to say “Well look at so and so” Regardless if it’s a factual issue or not. When have you ever known facts to get in the way of a good liberal witch hunt?

    This “Mistake” real or imagined, criminal or not will be added to the liberal talking points from now till at least 2012. Hey man Rangel, and Waters can’t be the only one in hot water now can they?

    I’ll tell you something else and you can mark my words: IF it is found that this man was totally innocent of any wrong doing. The “Racist” card will be thrown out on the table with authority. That’s how they roll.

    I wish the man luck, and from what you are saying he’d be a welcome trade for any of our idiots.