State records show Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, spent close to $1,300 of his campaign money on a convertible and triathlon event.
Hulsey said the purchases were for political purposes.
According to the records, $1,199 of campaign funding was spent on Hulsey’s convertible.
“I just wanted a car to do parades in,” said Hulsey. “I justify it by going door to door. I’ve knocked on over 20,000 doors since I’ve been a public servant and that’s how you really find out about people.”
Hulsey said his other car is broken down so the convertible is his main car right now. He said he’s paying for insurance and gas for it out of his pocket.
“I’m not using campaign funds. I only use campaign funds for campaign events,” said Hulsey.
Hulsey did clear his convertible purchase with the Government Accountability Board by stating it was for political purposes.
The records also show he spent $85.39 on triathlon expenses. He justified the triathlon expense by saying it allowed him to meet constituents.
Using campaign money for a convertible for parades or a triathlon to meet constituents is legal, but some say it opens the door to a bigger issue.
“That definitely is in the eyes of the beholder sometimes,” said Jay Heck with Wisconsin Common Cause, a non-partisan group.
Heck said the definition needs to change.
“Until we get a better clarification from the Governmental Accountability Board or legislature to pass a law that would tighten up the language, we’re going to see other legislators use money for what may be considered questionable by other people,” said Heck.