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These state lawmakers made you pay for their dirty laundry

According an AP analysis of thousands of expense reimbursements, seven Democrats and 12 Republicans in the Washington Legislature requested and received compensation totaling more than $5,600 for dry cleaning since the start of 2011. (file photo)

Some state lawmakers left taxpayers with the bill for their dry cleaning.

Associated Press reporter Mike Baker broke the story that Gary 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 AP 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.

Here’s a breakdown of the lawmakers and how much they were reimbursed:

Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center: $519.18

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima: $511.27

Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia: $509.92

Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick: $480.02

Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver: $448.40

Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee: $439.62

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Vashon Island: $407.29

Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington: $323.24

Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond: $320.28

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch: $320

Rep. Glenn Anderson, R-Fall City: $265.19

Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee: $246.64

Rep. Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Elum: $234.26

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline: $184.15

Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw: $182

Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater: $83.32

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver: $72

Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines: $35.97

Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake: $28

Stephen Ellis, vice president of the group Taxpayers for Common Sense, says the idea that lawmakers should spend public money to decorate their office or keep their clothes clean is beyond the pale.

While the amount of money may be small in comparison to the budget at large, the expenses offer a chance for taxpayers to get a glimpse at how lawmakers operate.

“We see it as a lens into how they approach the budget,” says Ellis. “If they’re profligate with their own spending in offices, it stands to reason that they’re not going to be too frugal with the state or the federal budget.”

By LINDA THOMAS

AP contributed to this report

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