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WJFW Investigates: Assembly candidate addresses mileage reimbursement double-dippingSubmitted: 09/16/2020
Dan Hagen
Dan Hagen
Reporter/Anchor
dhagen@wjfw.com

WJFW Investigates: Assembly candidate addresses mileage reimbursement double-dipping
LINCOLN CO. - WJFW received an anonymous tip that a local assembly candidate double-dipped on expense reports while serving as Lincoln County supervisor. An investigation revealed expense reports showing Calvin Callahan received more than 300 dollars in mileage compensation for miles he never drove.

"It was an error that I did not fix," said Callahan, who is also the Republican nominee for the 35th assembly district seat. "It was an oversight on my part so I take full responsibility."

Tuesday night, supervisor Calvin Callahan attended the public property committee meeting and full board meeting back-to-back. These two meetings were not always set up that way. 

When Callahan was first elected in 2018, full board meetings and public property committee meetings were not back-to-back. This required him to make separate trips, and his mileage correctly was reimbursed by the county for both trips.

But in early 2018, the meetings were changed to always being one after the other. This only requires one trip by county supervisors. Callahan did not alter his time sheets to reflect this change.

"As the term progressed, the county board chairman condensed [the public property committee meeting and the county board meeting] to save time and money, especially when people are traveling either to Tomahawk from Merrill or Merrill from Tomahawk," said Callahan. "I did make a mistake and [...] did not change that on my expense sheets going forward."

Callahan made that mistake at least 10 times. Expense reports show Callahan's double-dipping gave him an extra $311.23 of taxpayer money.

On Tuesday, WJFW reached out to Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe on this discrepancy. Marlowe, in turn, informed Callahan.

Later that evening, WJFW spoke with Callahan following the board meeting. Callahan took full responsibility for the double mileage and vowed to repay the money he owes.

"This was an oversight on my part and a hundred percent a mistake and I appreciate being held accountable as all public office holders need to be," said Callahan. "So I'm glad we can move forward making sure that those expense reports are correct."

Marlowe told WJFW Callahan was the only member of the public property committee who expensed double for mileage.

Callahan said this has been a learning opportunity for him as he takes aim at state assembly.

"I can tell you that when we get elected in November, this is a very good lesson to me to make sure that we're doing things right and keeping a close eye on things like expense reports that seem small, but in the end can be very big," said Callahan.

Marlowe told WJFW on Wednesday that Callahan has paid back the extra mileage money he received.
Callahan faces democrat Tyler Ruprecht in this November's election for the 35th assembly seat.




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