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Defeated state rep spends unused campaign cash to pay girlfriend

Days after he lost his bid for re-election last fall, former Rep. Peter Nehr of Palm Harbor used leftover campaign money to pay his live-in girlfriend $22,000 for "consulting," records show.

Nehr made three post-election payments to girlfriend Kim Marie, a 47-year-old acupuncturist, listing them as "consulting, editing and fundraising" expenses on his campaign expenditure report.

The report lists her as living at a fictitious address in Palm Harbor, "2528 Glory Drive." Property, voting and other state records list Nehr and Marie as both living in a Palm Harbor townhome on Gloriosa Drive, which she owns.

Is this a violation of state law? Current law allows candidates to spend money after the election on thank you advertisements, for previous financial obligations and expenses needed to shut down campaign operations. Violations are subject to fines from the Florida Elections Commission.

The ethics revisions moving through the Florida and the Senate attempt to tackle the use of slush funds for CCEs and don't address this issue. More from Steve Bousquet here.