Washington Prowler

In Mint Condition

It's payback time for Gov. Bill Richardson.

By 11.2.03

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Former Energy Secretary and U.N. Ambassador and now current New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was one of Bill Clinton's biggest boosters and defenders, and apparently a lot of Clinton has rubbed off on Richardson.

Seems when he was elected governor of New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the country, as well as one of the most politically suspect, Richardson had the state legislature triple his unaudited expense account from $30,000 to $90,000. Richardson is allowed to use the funds for just about anything as long as he can show the expense is somehow related to the gubernatorial duties.

Republican insiders have gained a partial list of expenses, as a result of Richardson and his wife's repaying the state for purchases that didn't quite meet the broad definition of "official obligations."

The list reads like a Bill Clinton shopping list.

How about a $1,000 mattress (purchased from a hotel)?

A hundred bucks for newspapers, $75 for cigars, bottled water, $100 for Starbucks coffee, room service meals, trips to Switzerland, Mexico City, Washington, D.C., New York, a resort in Phoenix. Then there is the $3,500 worth of restaurant tabs, the $1,000 in car rentals.

Apparently Richardson didn't just pick up lifestyle tips from his old boss, but used state funds to purchase some amount of Altoids breath mints. Yes, the very mints Ms. Monica Lewinsky made famous. Perhaps now we have some idea what they talked about when Richardson gave her a job interview during his stint at the U.N.

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