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Bookout: ballin' with backers cash

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In 2012, Sen. Paul Bookout was living high on the hog, spending big on Japanese restaurants, home entertainment, clothing, liquor and home improvement. The only trouble is that he was spending a big chunk of $80,000 in campaign money to do so (during an election in which he ran unopposed — that election was in November and he kept right on spending in December). Late last week, Bookout filed a batch of amended campaign finance reports, which detail a highly questionable use of the campaign expense account. The reports show planned reimbursements of around $53,000, meaning contributors would be refunded at about 60 cents on the dollar. The state Ethics Commission reprimanded Bookout last week and fined him $8,000, citing four violations of campaign finance law. Early this week, prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington asked that a special prosecutor be named to determine whether a criminal prosecution should be pursued. Bookout thus far has shown no intention of resigning.

Some highlights from Bookout's hard-fought campaign:

12/26 Fuji Steakhouse $244.83

12/10 Brookstone 227 $185.71

10/15 Sound Concepts $8,402.47

10/2 Home Depot $389.41

10/1 Harmony Gardens (custom landscaping) $107.37

8/30 Kimono Japanese Steakhouse $140.17

8/20 Payment to himself $2,000

8/20 Shogun Japanese Steakhouse $107.79

7/30 Doe's Eat Place $169.98

7/13 Barbara Jean's (women's clothes) $350.83

7/5 Brave New Restaurant $287.13

6/25 Ridgepoint Country Club $150.00

6/4 Walmart $114.84

5/26 Poinsett Package Store $212.75

5/23 Best Buy $107.40

5/14 IO Metro (furniture) $720.21

4/30 Hibbett Sporting Goods $251.65

4/20 Loca Luna $159.08

4/4 Diamond Liquor $174.41

4/3 Dillards $250.00

3/16 Gearhead Outfitters $193.67

3/16 Steamroller Blues (women's clothes) $702.00

3/16 Payment to himself $600.00

3/14 Payment to himself $800.00

3/10 Steamroller Blues (women's clothes) $1,510.32

3/8 Delta Catfish $102.67

2/25 Apple Store $139.37

2/25 Go Running $199.63

2/25 Warren's Shoes $341.78

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