Texas Democrat Politicians Who Paid for Michelle Obama Tickets With City Funds Resign After Backlash

As reported by Newsweek

Two politicians in Texas who expensed tickets for Michelle Obama’s book tour to public funds for the city they represented have quit amid a political backlash.

Forest Hill City Council Mayor Lyndia Thomas and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Beckie Hayes paid back the money to the city’s public relations fund—$545 a ticket for the Obama book event in Dallas—after criticism, WFAA reported.

But they rejected the allegation they had misused public funds for the expenses request, which was approved by the city manager, after questions were raised by an audit committee.

“[The fund] doesn’t specify what we can do and where we can go,” Hayes told reporters after a meeting at the city council, during which the pair resigned over the issue. “But it’s set aside for us to go and learn and get involved.”

Three council members accused Thomas of claiming other dubious expenses, such as school supplies and meals at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and Texas Roadhouse, that were unrelated to their council duties, the Star-Telegram reported.

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Thomas had requested three months to prepare a defense against the allegations.

“I am asking the council to pull the charges against myself and the mayor pro tem because we did not do anything illegally,” she pleaded with the council, the Star-Telegram reported. “If you don’t pull the charges, I ask that you give us a chance to prepare.”

But the city council voted to go ahead with the hearings on Wednesday, during which she could have been removed from office or suspended, a decision that led to the resignations.