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Free-spending Jalisco deputies mired in expenses scandal

October 8, 2013

Razors, tampons, tacos, candy bars, Frosted Flakes – just some of the personal items that members of the Jalisco Congress have charged to expenses despite being the best paid deputies in Mexico.

On top of a whopping gross salary of 107,235 pesos per month (according to Union Jalisco), deputies also receive a no-strings-attached “legislative budget” of 92,000 pesos per month, which is typically used to rent district offices, cover administrative expenses and pay assistants’ wages.

A recent investigation by Spanish-language daily Milenio found that 37 of the state’s 39 deputies had charged personal items to expenses and only 14 of these provided any proof of purchases.

Among the more unusual expenses listed, male deputy Joaquin Portilla of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) claimed 19 pesos for a pack of tampons (he later claimed this was an error by a member of his office), while Juan Jose Cuevas of the National Action Party (PAN) was reimbursed for having a temple waterproofed for 12,000 pesos. Meanwhile, Trinidad Padilla of the PRI paid an assistant severely inflated wages of 94,700 pesos last November and another 64,200 pesos in December, and Roberto Mendoza, also of the PRI, claimed 104,000 pesos worth of petrol, enough for 8,451 liters of premium fuel.

The only two deputies not to charge expenses were Celia Fausto Lizaola of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Miguel Castro of the PRI.

“This is not just an administrative matter, it is one of principles and austerity,” Fuasto said after Milenio uncovered her peers’ excessive expenses. Former Tlajomulco Mayor Enrique Alfaro of the Citizens Movement branded the deputies’ actions “a disgrace,” while Castro admitted that deputies should pay back any expenses not related to legislative activity.

The PRI’s national party president Cesar Camacho Quiroz joined the debate on Saturday, vowing to punish anyone responsible for filing fraudulent expenses and insisting that “justice cannot be selective … the PRI will not illegally protect anyone.”

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