It doesn't pay a lot to be an Idaho State Senator. Much like Washington, you are only a 'part-time' legislator, which means that in for example, in 2011, they were in session for only 88 days, for which the salary was $16,116. In addition to that salary, the members of the legislature earn per diem, which is handled a few different ways.
Idaho being bigger than say....New England, there is a provision in the per diem for people the legislators to earn either $59 a day or $122 a day per diem. The higher dollar amount is supposed to go to people who live far enough away from Boise that they need to pay for a 2nd household while the Legislature is in session.
That's what it's supposed to be for, at least. The AP ran a story this weekend where one Senator was collecting that per diem, and then sleeping at his parents house, while a 2nd one was sleeping on the couch in his office.
I don't have to travel much for my current job, but I know that when I worked for the Shipyard, if someone was playing this kind of hanky-panky with government per diem, well, that was one of the few things that could get you flat out fired from a cushy Federal job.
But hey, when you are one of the guys who writes the laws, I guess you can decide if the laws apply to you. One of them said 'No comment, check with the folks that approve the per diem', while the other, the one that sleeps on his couch and his law office, says 'You know, I didn't need to get an office big enough for a couch...of course this is a 2nd residence'.
Adding to the poop is the fact that neither of this guys lives further from The Capitol that I live from where I work, AND since they live closer than 50 miles to the Capitol, their per diem counts as income. The negative is they need to pay taxes on it, the positive is that it counts as income for their pensions someday...
I'm not an Idaho voter, but if I was, I'm not sure who I would vote for, but I know who I could vote against...