The Lt. Governor is only supposed to spend taxpayer money on activities that are essential for performing his official duties:But the "official duties" of the Lt. Governor are pretty limited:
According to Missouri regulations, the state government will foot the bill for travel only if "limited to those expenses authorized and essential for transacting official business of the state."
The governor, the state's chief executive, also has broad responsibilities under the state constitution. The lieutenant governor's role is more prescribed. In addition to serving as senior citizens' advocate, he is the tie-breaking vote in the state Senate, heads the line of succession to replace the governor and sits on several economic development boards.
Kinder used taxpayer money to stay at hotels when he was in town for things like tea party rallies (where he was introduced as "our next Governor") and baseball games:
Kinder has billed the state three times to attend events organized by Tea Party groups, which have criticized government spending. On April 15, when he spoke at Tea Party events in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, Kinder charged taxpayers $118 to stay at the Chase and $28 for dinner at Oceano in Clayton.
When the Cardinals were in the World Series in 2006, Kinder billed taxpayers to stay at the Chase so he could attend an invitation-only party thrown by Major League Baseball at the City Museum.On the night before the 2009 Cardinals opener, invoices from Kinder's office show he billed taxpayers to stay the night at the Chase. While his expense report lists no events for the day, according to Ethics Commission filings, an Anheuser-Busch lobbyist gave Kinder a $150 ticket to the game.Later in 2009, Kinder spent three nights at the Chase - costing taxpayers $357 - the week that baseball's All-Star Game was held in St. Louis.
In fact, Kinder provided no reasons whatsoever for many of his taxpayer-funded stays:
More than two dozen times since 2006, Kinder billed taxpayers for hotel stays when no official events appeared on expense reimbursement forms or invoices. Kinder's office says his "schedule often excludes appointments and meetings that are made while he is traveling" or that he schedules himself.
Kinder also refused comment for the story:
Kinder, a Republican who is widely expected to run for governor next year, declined to be interviewed for this story. "I'm not talking to you," Kinder told a reporter before hanging up the phone
Kinder says he didn't do anything wrong. But if that's true, then why did he decide to rent an apartment in St. Louis using campaign funds, rather than taxpayer funds, only after the story broke? As Sean asks, why didn't Kinder do this a long time ago? And, of course, all of this is made much worse by the fact that Kinder has frequently criticized the travel of Governor Nixon and continuously accuses Democrats of wasting taxpayers' money.