Last week, freezing temperatures in Montgomery caused a water pipe at the Alabama State House to burst, flooding the building's basement and its first and second floors.

That is one of the many concerns maintenance workers have to deal with in the broken-down former Highway Department Building serving as the seat of power for Alabama's legislative branch.

However, a few floors up, House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) is renovating his office. According to a report initially from 256 Today's "Off the Record" writer A.B. Alloway and reiterated by Yellowhammer News' Dale Jackson, it appeared that taxpayers would be "stuck with the repair bill."

As it turns out, that's not true.

Stadthagen told 1819 News his campaign funds, not public funds, were being used for the renovation and insisted that it was being done to improve constituent services.

"Absolutely no taxpayer dollars are being used to renovate the Republican Caucus Majority Leader's office," he said. "The much-needed improvements, which include a conference room for Republican House Members to use for meetings with constituents, are being paid for with my campaign funds."

"I believe in transparency and accountability and having a place where a group of constituents can meet with their legislator in the State House is essential to those principles," Stadthagen continued. "Most members have small offices that can only accommodate two visitors, meaning that meetings with larger groups of constituents often occur in the hallways. Providing a proper space to facilitate those meetings is a benefit not only to the legislators but to the hardworking Alabamians they serve, but it is not and never has been a taxpayer-funded project."

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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