McGee, Other Legislators Pad Expenses

John Miller of Boise’s Associated Press bureau posted an interesting piece today about legislators who get paid for having a residence in Boise during the session, but live within 50 miles of the Capitol.

Senator John McGee, famed for recently surviving a DUI crash, avoiding auto theft charges, and terrorist attack in Turkey apparently collects $122 daily during the session like his colleagues from far away places, but stays with his Mom who lives in Boise. There was no indication that McGee actually paid Mom for his sleepovers, but there is no requirement in Idaho law that he has to pay in order to collect the per diem.

Some other legislators living close to Boise also take the per diem of a “second residence,” but they actually pay for a hotel room. Consequently, part-time lawmakers like McGee are bolstering their state retirement pension payments by taking the $122 per diem, because their pension payments will be based on their taxable incomes.

In the 88-day 2011 session, for instance, McGee boosted his income to $26,852, from $20,428 if he had taken only the $49 per diem.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I wonder who paid the air fare for the trip to Turkey for McGee and his wife?

  2. This is outrageous and although it may not rise to the level of a criminal act, it is stealing my tax dollars. Anyone who is taking these per diem payments who is not actually incurring these costs, should be bounced out on their bums!

  3. “Per diem pay eliminates the need for employees to create expense reports documenting the amount spent while traveling on business for reimbursement. Instead, employers reimburse employees at a standard daily rate without regard to the amount actually spent by the employee.” (Wikipedia definition of per diem)

    Legislators who took the money did so with a law/regulation they wrote for themselves and the term “per diem” excludes any requisite receipts or validation of the costs incurred. It might raise eyebrows but is not illegal and the per diem was approved by the boss legislator over these folks. Given the long days legislators put in paying per diem without receipts is not something I can overly excited about.

  4. chicago sam
    Oct 1, 2011, 10:11 am

    A legislator needs a place to put their shoes at night and if he wants to save money by staying with his mother I have no problem with it. I do object however, to per diem expenses being added to his gross income which would increase his retiement benifits

  5. It is hard to see where the excitement is coming from. Legislators should be compensated for having to live away from home. If some of them are frugal. Great!

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