Thursday, February 23, 2006
By MARSHA SHULER
Capitol news bureau
The Federal Emergency Management Agency wasn’t the only entity buying motor homes for hurricane relief efforts.
Former Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley bought a used motor home — with campaign funds.
“After the storms, I felt like I needed to get out there and go to the different affected areas and to take staff people to try to help,” Wooley said Wednesday.
Wooley said he used campaign funds to buy and equip the 1978 recreational vehicle because going through state purchasing channels can take a long time.
“Plus I didn’t feel like getting into any more difficulty about (vehicle) purchases,” Wooley said.Wooley’s purchase of a Harley-Davidson edition pickup truck with heated seats and camper package with state funds brought him a firestorm of bad publicity last year.
Wooley ended up giving up the truck, which was then sold by the state in an auction.Wooley’s 2005 campaign activity report delineates about $56,600 in expenses related to the RV purchase.
Chief state ethics lawyer Gray Sexton said the purchase of the motor home fits state guidelines for spending campaign funds because it is related to holding or running for public office.
Wooley resigned earlier this month to return to law practice.
Now that he is no longer a public official, he must get rid of the vehicle, Sexton said.