The Latest: Lawmaker defends taking family on campaign trip

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Posted: Apr 21, 2016 10:45 AM
The Latest: Lawmaker defends taking family on campaign trip

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on Indiana Senate candidate Marlin Stutzman's travel expenses (all times local):

9:35 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman is defending his decision to have his campaign pay for his family to visit California last summer, saying political business was conducted during the six-day trip.

Stutzman's wife described the event online as a family vacation. Federal Election Commission guidelines forbid using campaign funds for personal expenses.

Over the course of a week, The Associated Press repeatedly asked the campaign to explain the travel. The campaign never answered and only refunded the campaign for trip costs after the AP inquired.

In a statement Thursday, Stutzman said he's always been transparent with voters.

Also Thursday, the campaign released an itinerary for the trip, but deleted the names of people Stutzman met and didn't spell out the political purpose of the events.

A spokesman said Wednesday that a number of the meals and meetings were political.

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1:40 a.m.

A Republican congressman running for Senate in Indiana billed his campaign more than $2,000 in airfare for his family's trip to the Ronald Reagan library in California, an apparent violation of federal election laws.

The expense is part of hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses, meals and vehicle payments U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman has charged to his campaign fund since 2010.

Federal Election Commission guidelines forbid the use of an official campaign fund for personal expenses.

Stutzman was first elected to Congress amid a wave of tea party insurgency in 2010. He has regularly found himself at odds with members of the GOP establishment and says he was sent to Congress to rein in spending.