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Whoops. About that taxpayer-funded travel…

October 22, 2010 |  3:49 pm

Here's a bookkeeping blunder one candidate was lucky enough to stumble across before the media did.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen says the taxpayers initially footed the bill when she went to the Democratic National Convention in Denver two years ago to see Barack Obama accept the party's nomination as president. Taxpayers also paid to fly her to the state Democratic convention in Los Angeles in April.

Bowen, who is seeking reelection, says she had mistakenly put those and other travel expenses involving her political activities on a state credit card instead of a credit card for her campaign account. She said she just recently discovered the bookkeeping error.

And with no time to spare. Reporters love snooping around travel records during campaign season.

Bowen reports that she has reimbursed the state for $1,595 from her campaign account to make taxpayers whole.

"Secretary Bowen realized the wrong credit card was used in these cases and she wanted to reimburse the state as soon as she learned of this mistake,'' spokeswoman Shannan Velayas said Friday.

Bowen had billed the state for $235 in lodging at the Sheraton Denver Hotel in August 2008 to attend the Democratic National Convention, and $591 for airfare on United Airlines in November 2007 to attend a fund-raising meeting in Chicago, according to her campaign finance reports for the three-months period ending Sept. 30.

Bowen also reimbursed the state for a $353 Southwest Airlines flight to Los Angeles in July "to attend [a] campaign event," a $227 flight to L.A. on the same airline for the same purpose in November 2009, and a $189 flight in April to Burbank to attend the state Democratic convention, according to an amended campaign report made public Thursday.

Asked about the campaign payments to her state office, Bowen said in an interview, "We separate state business and campaign business.''

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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