Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif., photo) used her congressional office funds to pay for a fancy $20,000 luncheon for some of her constituents in May, calling it a "briefing" to get around House rules prohibiting such expenditures. Jay's Catering handled the details of the party complete with singing, dancing, and "special consideration of [guests'] dietary and medical needs." Chris Kuhles, catering manager, said "It was a Polynesian-themed event — Huli Huli Chicken, fried rice, green salad, Hawaiian sweet rolls [and} for dessert, truffle cake."
It was all according to Hoyle, said Richardson's spokesman Ray Zaccaro: "All expenses associated with the event were in keeping with the rules and standards of the House Members Representational Account (MRA)." However, a close look at those rules showed that Richardson's "briefing" violated at least three of the MRA rules including these:
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