Rep. Douglas Bruce made much of his decision to wait until five days after the opening of this year's legislative session to be sworn in despite appeals by his own party that he start on time.
But records show the Colorado Springs Republican charged per diem, and received payment, as if he had started on day one.
State law allows lawmakers such as Bruce who live outside the Denver metro area to receive up to $150 per day as compensation for living expenses. They are also allowed mileage reimbursement for up to one round-trip home per week.
For the month of January, Bruce charged the General Assembly $3,450 - the maximum allowable for 23 days of per diem expenses. He did not charge for mileage.
If he had been sworn in on the first day of the session Jan. 9, he could have been eligible to claim up to 23 days of per diem.
However, Bruce was only a sworn member of the General Assembly for 18 days in January. By law, then, he was only elibigle for up to 18 days, which would have totaled $2,700.
Why has this been swept under the rug? Bruce repaid the money but only after he was confronted about his over-charging. For a man who's built his entire career on bemoaning wasteful government spending it sure seems relevant to note this incident when recounting his other disgraceful behavior.
I'm not buying the theory that this was some sort of oversight and honest error on his part. Bruce made a spectacle out of manipulating his swearing in order to allow him to stand for election for one more 2 year term that he had to know when his starting date was. It's not a large sum of money but it's not insignificant either and given what Douglas Bruce professes to stand for it's entirely relevant to any discussion of his behavior and whether or not he should remain a member of the General Assembly.