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VOL. 39 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 6, 2015

Senate clerk uses taxpayer money to travel to conferences

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Chief Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey has spent about $9,000 in taxpayer money to travel to conferences in other states over the last seven months.

WSMV-TV (http://bit.ly/16pIjkv) reports Humphrey has traveled to Alaska, Arkansas, Minnesota, Nevada, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. According to the station, most of his travels were related to his role as president of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries.

The station found that Humphrey is among the highest-paid clerks in the region with a salary of $176,000 and that he has more travel-related expenses than others.

Ben Cunningham, who leads a Tennessee government watchdog group, says he thinks the travel expenses are excessive.

"The taxpayers of Tennessee shouldn't be paying for his travel expenses," Cunningham said. "The group that he's a member of should be paying for these travel expenses."

Humphrey referred questions about hi s travel to Connie Ridley, director of legislative administration.

Ridley says the Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries has "a very, very limited budget" and that Humphrey's travel for the organization benefits Tennesseans because it "allows us to have direct knowledge and access to the best technologies and practices in legislative efficiency."

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