Washington tax dollars go to dry cleaning, art

Rivers, Moeller, Benton among lawmakers reimbursed for such expenses

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OLYMPIA — 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.

Alexander, 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, according to an Associated Press analysis of thousands of expense reimbursements. He wasn’t alone: Seven Democrats and 12 Republicans in the Legislature requested and received compensation totaling more than $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 common costs of being a lawmaker, such as travel around the district to meet with constituents, parking fees for meetings, office supplies and rent for district offices.

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