Washington State Legislators collect per diem expenses

Senator Brad Hawkins among lawmakers who collected significant per diam expenses

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OLYMPIA-Several Washington State Legislators may find themselves in hot water with their constituents after the Seattle Times reports Per Diem expenses are stacking up.

Included in the report was Senator Brad Hawkins, who collected $23,160 in per diem, telling the Seattle Times that he needed the income so he could afford to do the legislative work saying “The reality is, I can barely afford to do it, I could not do this job without the per diem.”

With lawmakers taking three special sessions to finish their work this year, members from both the House and Senate collected more money than ever for session expenses, according to the Times.

The controversy comes in when lawmakers claim per diem for days they may not have been directly working on issues in Olympia.

Lawmakers are legally allowed to claim $120 per day to help cover housing, food and other costs. Hawkins was among 14 state senators and representatives who collected more than $20,000 per diem for the legislative session.

Local representatives Mike Steele and Cary Condotta were reported to have received just over $14,000 each.