BY: Steve Wilson | Watchdog.org

  

Mississippi Watchdog reviewed the most recent campaign finance records from state legislators who retired after this session and found several who left office with thousands remaining in their accounts.

State Rep. Johnny Stringer, D-Montrose had $154,417 in his campaign account after leaving the House. State Sen. Perry Lee, R-Mendenhall, had $55,262 left. State Sen. Haskins Montgomery, D-Bay Springs, had $50,905.

State Rep. Bobby Howell, R-Kilmichael, had $27,742 remaining in his campaign account.

Howell said he’s trying to wrap up any final debts with his campaign finance account before he files a termination report. He said he’ll devote his time to helping raise money for a bell tower at the state’s new veteran’s cemetery and might donate some of his leftover campaign money to the cause.

“I don’t know what the balance will be, but I’m going to do what the law says,” Howell told Mississippi Watchdog. “I generally never pursued having a big account. I’ve been blessed that I’ve never had any expensive campaigns to run.

“Maybe we ought to send it to a charity, but I’ve never really thought about it over the years because I’ve never had a very large amount in my account.”

Stringer, Lee and Montgomery did not return calls for comment.

State Rep. Henry Zuber, R-Ocean Springs, proposed House Bill 169, which would have ended the practice of retiring officeholders taking home their contributions as a retirement nest egg. It died in committee.

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