Rivers defends state dry-cleaning charges

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photoSen. Ann Rivers

State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said Wednesday that out of several reimbursements she's allowed to charge to the state, she only asks to be reimbursed for her mileage and her dry cleaning during the session.

She tops the Associated Press' list of lawmakers charging dry-cleaning expenses since the start of 2011. Rivers, who was a House member until appointed to the Senate last summer, charged $519 for dry cleaning. Despite those charges, Rivers said, "you'll always find money left in my expense account."

Legislators may be reimbursed for several job-related expenses, including in-state airfare, shipping, conventions related to the Legislature, office supplies, meals and lodging.

"We're expected to wear a suit every day," Rivers said. "After a while the dry cleaning piles up. … You should look nice and you should smell nice and you should be doing the work of the people."

Rivers also pointed out that in 2011, she took a voluntary, 3 percent pay cut in her legislative salary. Legislative salaries are $42,106 a year.