A Fair Political Practices Commission investigation into whether one Republican lawmaker improperly used campaign funds for personal benefit has produced a somewhat unusual explanation to justify use of the account.
The Los Angeles Times sums up the case involving Fullerton Assemblyman Chris Norby this way:
The director of the state Fair Political Practices Commission has accused Norby of using $340 in campaign funds for personal benefit when he stayed in a Fullerton motel in 2007 during a dispute with his wife, according to the lawmaker.
Norby vows to fight the accusation. He said he did leave his home for a resident motel on Orangethorpe Avenue after a quarrel with his wife. They have since divorced.
But he said he decided to use the cooling-off time away from home to study the use of the motel to shelter homeless people. At the time, he was a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
"I was doing a homeless study," Norby said this week. "We have a lot of homeless people in motels. I think I learned a lot from it. I will stand by it."
Norby's attempt to turn lemons into lemonade could have a sour outcome. If found in violation of the law, Norby could face a fine of up to $5,000.
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PHOTO CREDIT: In this file photo, Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, is sworn in by Assembly Republican leader Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach as he is accompanied by wife Martha Norby on Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. Norby replaced Mike Duvall, who abandoned the seat the previous September after his private boasts of sexual conquest were captured on audiotape at a public meeting. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee