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Dahlquist Shares Spending History Following Report on Lawmakers' Expense Reports

The District 31 lawmaker was listed in an Associated Press report released this week for expensing $182 for dry cleaning.

A report by The Associated Press released this week revealed that state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have received expense reimbursements for some arguably questionable items including a Bose headset, home Internet and even original pieces of art.

The AP report also released a companion list of lawmakers who included dry cleaning as part of their 2011 expenses, and District 31's Rep. Cathy Dahlquist could be found near the bottom of that list with a total of $182.

Dahlquist was far from the top spender when it came to dry cleaning as Rep. Ann Rivers racked up $519.18 in that same year.

In all, Dahlquist reveals that in 2012, each member of the House had a budget of $5,500 and her total expenses came to $2,792.06 for the year. In 2011, the budget was slightly more generous at $6,500, and she'd spent $3,696.46, with the majority of that total going to costs for having an in-district office.

Her spending was well within current House ethical guidelines, according to House Deputy Chief Clerk Bernard Dean. Dean explained that administrative staff go through a multi-tiered analysis to decide if something is eligible for reimbursement. The first tier is to ensure the item is deductible per IRS guidelines -- and dry cleaning is deductible.

He emphasizes the reimbursements only hold during active session, not for the rest of the year. The second tier is whether or not the expense is allowable per state ethics.

The bulk of reimbursements sought by lawmakers - on the House side - is for expenses related to having an in-district office, Dean said, following by costs associated with traveling within the legislators' district. 

An example of a request that might be denied is if a lawmaker sought to use money in this budget for a purpose that is served by another designated budget, like for mailings, he said.

And though the AP story indicated iPhones were among the perks of being a lawmaker, Dean clarified iPhones are not an acceptable expense - at least on the House side.

There are many costs associated with being a legislator, Dahlquist said, and she has made a conscious effort to stay well within her budget. That there is now a focus on dry cleaning bills of state lawmakers, "It's a little frustrating," she said. "But I get it."

John February 01, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Why is this news? In stead of focusing on the few bucks our law makers are spending to look presentable. how about we focus on the millions and billions of dollars wasted on government subsidies that have yielded little to no results. Spending 3% of an allotted and approved allowance on dry cleaning ... why is this news worthy of publishing? If the Patch is running this story because it's relevant to BL, and they're concerned how tax dollars are being spent in a down or stagnant economy, let us then focus on how 5 of 7 members of our city council support increasing our property taxes to create another layer of bureaucracy in the form of a metropolitan parks district. These five support a tax increase when there is no solid plan how the money will be used. These five support a forever-tax increase and support a new taxing authority that can (and we all know will) increase your property taxes to the max level allowed by law ($.75 per $1k of assessed value) without a vote/say of the people. This is poor governance and a potential massive waste of our money that we will all feel. This is what the Patch ought to be focusing on when it comes to government waste, not a dry cleaning bill that equates to a meager 3% of an approved job expense allowance.
Winona Jacobsen February 01, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Well, John, you were at the same city council meeting in December that I was, and those 5 of 7 council members voted to ALLOW the citizens of Bonney Lake to practice the democratic process and exercise their right to make their own decision about creating a Metropolitan Park District. You are misrepresenting what occurred in that meeting. I applaud their actions, because they did not deprive me or anyone else in our city to vote our choice. I would encourage everyone to check out the http://www.yesmpd.com web site for the facts regarding a Metroploitan Park District and what it would mean for each homeowner. I hope you will vote YES on April 23.
Laurie Carter February 03, 2013 at 04:38 AM
Patch is not the only news outlet to report this story http://www.king5.com/news/politics/Washington-tax-dollars-go-to-dry-cleaning-art-188864891.html http://www.kirotv.com/ap/ap/legislative/wash-tax-dollars-go-to-dry-cleaning-artwork/nT9Jt/ http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Tax-dollars-go-to-dry-cleaning-arts-188865691.html http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/01/30/2454660/states-taxpayers-pick-up-5600.html Sorry, John, didn't find it on FOX13.

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