► Did Dallas Rep. Linda Harper-Brown illegally pocket mileage & per diem payments? Print E-mail
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Did Dallas Rep. Linda Harper-Brown illegally pocket mileage & per diem payments?

 

Texas State Rep. Linda Brown-Harper has allegedly been representing the best interests of her constituents in the Dallas area for the last eight years. She is now running for a fifth term for the 9th Assembly District against Ms. Loretta Haldenwang in the November 2010 election.
 
Improperly pocketing mileage payments from State
 
As you’ll see from the text box below, Rep. Harper-Brown has billed and collected nearly $13,000 from the State for mileage reimbursements from September 6, 2007 through May 6, 2010.
 
However, according to a June 18, 2010 story by Brandon Formby and Gromer Jeffers, Jr. of the Dallas Morning News titled: “Questions raised about Rep. Linda-Harper-Brown’s use of a Mercedes,” she did not bear any personal expenses for either the Mercedes and/or Chevy Tahoe that was provided to her by husband at no cost to her. (Dallas story at: http://tinyurl.com/27huhya).
 
 
Year
State
Mileage
Fuel
Car
Maint
Totals
2010 1
$2,611
 
 
$2,611
20092
$5,161
 
$495
$5,656
2008 3
$4,953
$713
$566
$6,232
 
$12,725
 
 
$14,499
1 - $201 x 11 + $200 x 2
2 - $220 x 21 + $110 x 4
3 - $202 x 12 + $234 x 6

 

As we all know, mileage reimbursements are meant to cover all expenses of operating a vehicle, which would include the cost of the vehicle, fuel and maintenance. Therefore, it certainly appears that Rep. Harper-Brown was not lawfully entitled to pocket the mileage payments she received from the State of Texas.
 
Tax Liability for Commuting
 
It is black letter law that the IRS considers any and all expenses paid by a third party for commuting to be taxable income. Therefore, because Harper-Brown’s husband provided her with no-cost vehicles and her campaign paid for fuel and maintenance costs any and all commuting miles and/or personal use of said vehicle is taxable income.
 
It is plainly clear that Harper-Brown was commuting from Irvine to Austin if in fact her mileage claims submitted to the State Controller’s Office were accurate. It is about 204 miles from Irvine to Austin, therefore the 54 trips she took as set forth in the above footnotes (1-3) are proof positive that she billed the state for commuting to the Statehouse from her home in Irvine.
 
I suspect that Ms. Harper-Brown likely did not report said use to the IRS as income. However, if she did and/or claims she did, then I’m sure she would be more than happy to release copies of her tax returns proving she so acted.
 
Improperly pocketing per diem payments
 
As you’ll see from the text box below, Rep. Harper-Brown has billed and collected over $82,000 from the State in per diem payments that were meant to pay for his lodging and meal costs from 2005 through June 2010. However, during this period of time her campaign paid almost $60,000 for these costs, meaning she didn’t incur any lodging expenses in Austin.
 
Year
Mos.
Rent
Water
Utilities
Misc.
Total
Session
Per Diem
Amt.
Owed
2010
$ 5,885
$1,197
$7,082
None
$3,384
$3,384
2009
$ 5,059
$2,454
$7,513
140
$24,528
$11,044
2008
$15,542
$2,131
$17,673
None
$ 9,477
$ 9,477
2007
$10,879
$2,695
$13,574
140
$19,460
$13,574
2005
$10,833
$3,294
$14,127
200
$25,600
$14,127
 
$48,198
$11,771
$59,969
 
$82,449
$51,606
 
It certainly appears that Rep. Harper-Brown owes her campaign at least almost $52,000 for per diem payments she pocketed from the State even though she did not personally incur any lodging expenses.
 
Reporting Rep. Harper-Brown’s conduct to the proper authorities
 
A copy of the above and a complaint has been submitted to the attention of the Travis County DA via email this date (September 21, 2010). In addition, complaints and/or alerts are being filed with the IRS, Texas State Controller and the Texas Ethics Commission.
 
 
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