Top Missouri lawmaker repays travel reimbursements wrongly taken from state | State News


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s House speaker has repaid more than $3,300 in taxpayer dollars that he inappropriately received as reimbursements for travel and other expenses dating back to 2018.

Speaker Dean Plocher so far has repaid the state House $3,379, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

The Missouri Independent on Monday first reported years of expenses that Plocher received state reimbursement for, even though he paid for the expenses out of his campaign fund and not out of his own pocket.

Missouri law allows elected officials to use money from their political campaigns for some government-related expenses. But it’s unlawful to use taxpayer dollars to reimburse campaigns or for political expenses.

In a Monday email to fellow Republican House members, Plocher wrote that his campaign treasurer, his wife, early last week told him he “had received reimbursement from the House for an extra hotel night during a conference I attended that I should not have been reimbursed.”

“When I learned of that, I immediately reimbursed the House,” Plocher wrote. “Because of this error, I reviewed all of my travel reimbursements and it revealed that I had additional administrative errors, to which I have corrected.”

Plocher did not immediately return Associated Press voice and text messages seeking comment Tuesday.

As early as 2018, Plocher used campaign money to pay for conferences, flights and hotels and then asked to be reimbursed by the House, according to the Post-Dispatch. The House denied his request to be reimbursed for valet parking during a July trip to Hawaii for a national conference.

Voters elected Plocher, a lawyer, to the House in 2015. He’s banned by term limits from running for re-election in 2024 and instead is vying to be the state’s next lieutenant governor.

In Missouri, gubernatorial candidates do not have running mates and campaign separately from would-be lieutenant governors.

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