Denver (AP) - The new president of the state senate spent $4,300 in tax dollars on a team-building retreat for democratic lawmakers.
The expense follows budget cuts and plans to furlough workers because of the recession.
President Brandon Shaffer says spending some money on professional development is justified. He says he excluded GOP lawmakers because he thought it would be easier for democratic leaders to ``air their dirty laundry''. But he now says that was a mistake.
Republicans say Shaffer should have used democratic funds since they were excluded.
Shaffer said he organized the retreat partly because of complaints about committee chairs being disrespectful to the public and other lawmakers. All committee chairs are Democrats since they control the senate.
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