A Democratic lawmaker known for her fondness for profanity and her myriad of legal and financial troubles has been collecting per diem payments while driving on a suspended driver’s license. Records obtained by Media Trackers show Rep. Christine Sinicki of Milwaukee was collecting mileage reimbursement on trips to and from the state Capitol last year around the time she was cited for driving on a suspended license.
Sinicki was stopped and cited by law enforcement officers in Jefferson County on October 11, 2013 for her fourth offense of driving while her license was suspended. State Assembly records show that Sinicki claimed four round trips to Madison on legislative business during the month of October and claimed 11 days of legislative work reimbursement.
Lawmakers can claim per diem mileage reimbursement for up to one round trip per week between their homes at the state Capitol in downtown Madison. The current rate is $0.51 per mile. A legislator must drive himself or herself for the duration of the trip in order to qualify for the payment. Carpooling, which is common among lawmakers and staff, only counts as a reimbursable trip for the driver of the vehicle.
Traveling to and from the Capitol, Sinicki would most likely drive I-94 between Milwaukee and Madison. The interstate runs through Jefferson County, where her October citation was earned.
It is unknown how long Sinicki has had her license suspended. In 2012, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice reported the lawmaker had been ticketed in April of that year for driving on a suspended license.
The signed per diem claims for 2013 show Sinicki taking a total of 49 trips to the Capitol from her Milwaukee home. By signing the forms she affirms, according to the fine print at the bottom, that she indeed is the person who drove the automobile.
The forms amount to a signed confirmation by Sinicki that she was driving at a time when her license was suspended.
A total of $4,108.16 would have been paid to Sinicki for the trips since, according to Google Maps, her home is 82.2 miles from the Capitol.
A request for comment to her office and to her legislative staff went unanswered.
During Governor Scott Walker’s (R) State of the State address this year, Sinicki garnered media attention for announcing on her Facebook page that the speech was “full of sh#@” and she wished she could walk out. Days after that controversy, the loudmouthed legislator used an expletive to describe what she though U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s (R) response would be to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
In 2012, two warrants were issued for Sinicki for outstanding traffic citations. She and her husband have also been sued by the City of Milwaukee for failing to pay property taxes and their home has been foreclosed on at least three times.
Copies of the per diem documents: Sinicki 2013 Per Diem Sheets.