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Concerns Arise Over Georgia Senate Leader's Reimbursements
Atlanta, Georgia: Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers’ use of taxpayer money has come under criticism recently, stemming from an investigation by the website Atlanta Unfiltered. In particular, Rogers is alleged to have claimed $8,100 of taxpayer money as reimbursement for mailing, printing, and other items reported as campaign expenses.
State records revealed that Rogers was reimbursed $6,700 in the first half of this year for printing and mailing. Campaign disclosure records showed Rogers claimed the same amount for printing and mailing expenses. Georgia law does not allow legislators to spend taxpayer funds on personal campaign expenses, so the two records in question caused serious concerns.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rogers’ lawyer Doug Chalmers defended his client: “There is nothing improper, illegal or unethical in the way this was handled. There was no unlawful taking of taxpayer funds or double dipping.” Rogers could face a penalty of a $1,000 and up to five years in prison if convicted of willing falsification of legislative expense reports.
Rogers repaid $8,500 into his campaign fund in response to the questions about his reimbursements, though Chalmers defended his actions to the Associated Press. "He did not need to cut that check back as a matter of law," Chalmers said. "He made that purely voluntarily in order to avoid an appearance of impropriety." It is unknown if Rogers faces charges at this time.