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  Mongiardo gets housing stipend, stays with in-laws
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Last Editedparticleman  Apr 07, 2010 10:04pm
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News DateThursday, April 8, 2010 03:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionLt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo has been staying with his in-laws in Frankfort while receiving a $30,000-a-year housing allowance from the state in an arrangement that hasn't gone unnoticed by budget negotiators and political rivals.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Leeper, a Paducah independent, acknowledged Tuesday that he had heard "quips" in recent weeks from some state lawmakers about the $2,500 monthly payments, but that the money hasn't been stricken from any versions of a state budget being drafted in Frankfort.

"No one likes to see this kind of waste of taxpayer money," said David Adams, campaign manager for Bowling Green physician Rand Paul, one of the Republican U.S. Senate candidates. "But it gives us another opportunity to point out that Rand Paul is a taxpayer running against a group of professional politicians."

Mongiardo campaign spokesman Kim Geveden defended the housing allowance, saying "there is nothing illegal, unethical or untoward" in receiving it. Geveden also pointed out that Mongiardo was among a group of state leaders who gave up 10 percent of their salaries over the past two years to help balance the budget. Mongiardo, who makes about $100,000 a year, has given up about $20,000 in wages over the past two years, Geveden noted.

Providing a housing allowance to lieutenant governors began under former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who saw it as a cost-cutting measure. Before that, Kentucky had provided lieutenant governors with a Frankfort mansion, which cost more than $300,000 a year to operate. Lawmakers agreed to the housing allowance, and turned the mansion into a meeting place and museum, eliminating the need for 24-hour security and other staffers.
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