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Taxpayer money goes to gifts, travel

Ryan J. Stanton of the Northwest Explorer, a weekly newspaper that covers the northern suburbs of the Tucson, Ariz., area, investigated how local officials are spending taxpayer money. For the five-part series, the paper reviewed town's travel and training expenses, bank statements and receipts. It found "Marana public officials have charged close to $200,000 on their town-issued credit cards in the last two and a half years" to pay for things such as expensive dinners, luxury hotel stays, tuxedo rentals, flowers and fruit baskets. Other stories look into town council retreats and finds officials spent thousands more than what three other municipalities of comparable size did for conferences and specialized training seminars last fiscal year.

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