HOUSTON - A Houston lawmaker said Gov. Rick Perry should reimburse taxpayers for the amount of money spent on travel-related expenses during his bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination.
State Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Houston Democrat, sent a letter to Perry on Monday urging that he repay more than $2.6 million, the amount of money spent by the governor's campaign until he withdrew from the race last week.
"Given that (amount of money) amounts to about 10 cents for each Texan, direct reimbursement from the comptroller to taxpayers does not seem like a wise expenditure of taxpayers' money -- stamps are expensive these days," Farrar wrote in the letter. "Instead, we could put that money into classrooms, health services or disaster relief services."
The Texas Department of Public Safety provided security for the governor and his family during his short presidential run.
According to a review of campaign related expenses, the DPS was spending $400,000 a month for items like travel, lodging and food related to the campaign.
In the letter, Farrar also requested the governor return the $92,376 in retirement pension he received last year.
In response to the lawmaker's letter, Lucy Nashed, deputy press secretary for Perry released the following statement:
"Not a dime of the governor's political travel was borne by Texas taxpayers. Gov. Perry is governor no matter where he goes, and the Department of Public Safety has a policy of providing security for governors and their families everywhere they travel, as they have back several administrations. These policies are determined by DPS and not the governor's office. It's unfortunate that we live in a day and age where security is an issue. We respect and appreciate the officers who provide security for the Governor and First Lady and other state officials, just as they've done for decades.
"Gov. Perry retired under the Rule of 80, as is consistent with Texas state law and Employees Retirement System rules.
"We're encouraged to see Rep. Farrar wanting to join the ranks of fiscal conservatives in Texas, and look forward to her joining our efforts to persuade Congress and President Obama to repeal the fiscally irresponsible mandates of ObamaCare, noting the importance that our nation live within its means."
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