Governor Defends Rented Mansion

Governor Rick Perry is defending the amount of taxpayer money he has spent on a rental home while the governor's mansion is being renovated. But critics say Perry's campaign may have violated state disclosure laws because of how he has reported some of the spending. David Pitman reports.

In the fall of 2007, Governor Perry moved out of the state-owned governor's mansion and into a rental home in the Barton Creek Estates neighborhood in West Austin.

Since then, he has spent almost $600,000 of taxpayer money on rent, utilities, repairs, and furnishings.  That's according to a review of public records by the Associated Press.

The governor's office says Perry has cut back on some luxuries, as the state faces an $11 billion dollar deficit.  Perry's office also says he and his wife use a separate stash of campaign funds to pay for other expenses, like entertainment and food, which other governors have done.

However, Perry's disclosure of that spending does not specify who received how much money for a particular good or service — as is required under state law.

Critics say that lack of disclosure makes it impossible to know if the campaign funds were spent legally.  They also say Perry should have not rented a $10,000 a month house, and instead picked a smaller apartment near downtown.

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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...