An Australian lawmaker was revealed Sunday to have racked up a AU$22,000 (US$21,400) taxpayer-funded cell phone bill in just 12 months.
The (Adelaide) Sunday Mail reported Kevin Foley, who is the treasurer for the state government of South Australia, managed the bill while planning a horror budget in the state which slashed public service jobs, increased rent for pensioners and condemned a local community center.
Staff in Foley's office also tallied up phone costs of AU$18,000 (US$17,500) with one former adviser, Daniel Romero, ringing up nearly $10,000 (US$9700) on the taxpayer tab. Throughout 2009, Foley was warning South Australians they needed to be frugal and expect the pain of cutbacks in light of the global financial crisis.
Foley's bill easily tops available figures for Australian lawmakers.
A spokeswoman for Foley said the size of the bill was largely due to international calls, but declined to say what type of phone plan he used.