Painter gets paid

Louisiana Senators added a $294,000 reimbursement to next year’s budget for former Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Murphy Painter for his legal fees involved in fighting federal charges against him.

A federal jury acquitted Painter, who had worked as commissioner for 14 years, in December of 29 charges of fraud, identity theft and false statements to the FBI. He was accused of illegally gaining national crime computer information on people who were not under investigation.

The governor’s office announced in August 2010 that Painter resigned from his job, but Painter has said he was fired by Gov. Bobby Jindal because of a dispute over a liquor license.

The federal charges came after Louisiana’s inspector general issued a report that accused Painter of improperly using an FBI database and two state law enforcement databases to gather information about the wife of U.S. Sen. David Vitter, state district court judges, legislative staff members, Painter’s administrative assistant and her lawyer.

Painter claimed the allegations were designed to smear him.

The budget bill containing the money awaits a final decision in the Louisiana House.