Local Politics

Wash. tax dollars go to dry cleaning, artwork

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A few days after Washington lawmakers approved a budget deal to lower state spending last year, small-government Rep. Gary Alexander got $40.60 worth of dry cleaning done.

Then he made sure taxpayers paid the bill.

An Associated Press analysis of expenses found that the Republican budget writer in the state House billed more than $500 worth of dry-cleaning fees to the state over the past two years. He wasn't alone: Seven Democrats and 12 Republicans in the Legislature requested and received compensation totaling over $5,600 for dry cleaning since the start of 2011.

Lawmakers are able to get taxpayer-covered compensation for what the Legislature deems legitimate business expenses tied to the job. That includes things like travel costs and parking fees, but some lawmakers submit expenses for things like iPhones, picture frames and artwork.