U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office announced Friday that her campaign wrongfully billed taxpayers more than $33,000 in campaign travel expenses, going back for over a 12-year period.
The full amount of $33,727 that was repaid to the treasury covered chartered flights for the Louisiana Democrat’s campaign stops that her staff had billed the federal government as legitimate office expenses, according to CNN.
Landrieu attributed the “mistakes” to “sloppy bookkeeping,” and were uncovered by an audit the senator ordered after CNN reported on one of the instances of “sloppy bookkeeping.”
“I take full responsibility,” Landrieu said in a statement. “They should have never happened, and I apologize for this.”
Her GOP challenger in her reelection bid found it significant that the audit only went back 12 years, which was when the Federal Elections Commission made a rule change governing payment for campaign-related travel.
“No matter how Sen. Landrieu spins it, she billed taxpayers for dozens of private jet flights since the turn of the century,” Rep. Bill Cassidy, her opponent said, and called on her to release the nearly 18 years of travel records as a senator.
“Prior to [the rule change], it was also illegal to bill taxpayers for private flights,” Cassidy said in his statement. “Given Senator Landrieu’s own admission of faulty oversight, how do taxpayers know that problems did not exist prior to 2002?”
With less than two months to go, 2014 has proven to be a less-than-smooth reelection for effort Landrieu.
Her troubles began in late 2013 when health insurance policyholders began losing their plans because of Obamacare’s implementation. This was despite President Barack Obama’s oft-repeated promise, “If you like your plan you can keep it.”
It turned out Landrieu was a huge Obamacare supporter, and she repeatedly made the same promise, causing her to make an abrupt about-face and distance herself from the president, according to HotAir.
Early last month, the Sunlight Foundation discovered that Landrieu had treated her staff to in excess of $46,000 in expenses to attend retreats, Liberty Unyielding’s Deneen Borelli reported.
Only a few days later, CNN reported that at least one of Landrieu’s chartered campaign flights was wrongfully charged to the federal government as an office expense, which prompted her campaign expense audit.
Finally, early this month a question arose as to Landrieu’s residency status. Records showed her owning property in the Washington, D.C.-area, but were completely void as to having a home in Louisiana, her home state, according to Liberty Unyielding.
She responded that although she didn’t actually own real estate in Louisiana, she maintained a permanent residence at her mother’s house.
She’s 55 years old, and her husband live in her mom’s basement?
To throw a bit of hypocrisy into the mix, The Daily Caller noted last year that Landrieu pushed for higher taxes on the Senate floor, at a time when she and her husband were delinquent paying taxes on the Capitol Hill home.
It’s tough for the electorate when trusted politicians refuse to play by the rules; it’s tough for the politicians when they get caught. Maybe Louisiana voters will remember all the times Landrieu got caught come November 4.