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Garland Lawmaker Pleads Guilty To Felony In Travel Flap

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AUSTIN (AP) – A state representative has pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony charge in a deal that would allow him to avoid jail time.

Prosecutors say Garland Republican Rep. Joe Driver pled guilty Tuesday to a charge of official abuse of capacity. He’s accused of using tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to reimburse himself for travel expenses that his campaign had already funded.

Driver’s sentencing is set for December 19.

Prosecutors are recommending Driver be sentenced to five years deferred adjudication and pay a $5,000 fine. They’ve also asked that he repay more than $14,000 to his campaign account and undergo any treatment and counseling recommended by the probation department.

Driver, who has already repaid more than $49,000, has announced plans to retire when his term ends in January 2013.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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