In response to an ADN article detailing problems in Sen. Lesil McGuire’s office related to the authorization of spending $6500 on staff travel to the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Seattle, McGuire this morning attacked fellow legislators for their spending habits at that same conference.
Appearing on the radio with former Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, McGuire said “I hate taking one for the team,” referring to being singled out for what she said was the real problem, the authority of staff to spend money on behalf of legislative offices and committees.
She said “The issue here is we are in a budget deficit,” and that she and her staff were providing “leadership” on this issue. She said “I am proud of my team for reimbursing the state” and “I am proud of them for accepting responsibility for… going too far.” This made it sound as if her staff had voluntarily offered to make recompense for their error, but a few minutes later after Treadwell pressed her on the extravagance of her staff’s spending McGuire said I “and that’s why asked them to pay the state back.“
McGuire wasn’t content to cast her and her staff in a positive light, but rather felt the need to go on the offensive against her legislative colleagues and staff for their spending by saying “I think the lawmakers, Mark Nueman and a couple of the others, they are my good friends, but their explanation was, well this was a last minute thing, and much of the conference had taken up hotels. You know what, then don’t go.” She then went on to call for the other legislators and staff that went on the trip to reimburse the state for their excessive travel costs.
It is unusual for a sitting legislator to criticise fellow legislators, particularly by name, in these sorts of situations. It will be interesting to see if any will heed McGuire’s call to pay back costs. It may be more interesting to see what, if any response her fellow legislators have for Sen. McGuire.
You can hear the full audio here:
audio courtesy of 750 KFQD
Speaker Chenault, Rep. Nueman, and host of other legislators did not immediately respond to a request for comment.