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BOISE -- Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart says he used $1,000 in campaign funds to pay the attorney who represented him during a 2010 ethics panel inquiry.

The Republican from Athol faced ethics complaints over his ongoing tax dispute with the state and an illegal harvest of timber from state land.

The Spokesman-Review reports Hart dipped into his campaign funds to pay Starr Kelso, the Coeur d'Alene attorney also defending Hart in his tax fights with the state and federal government.

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says Hart's use of campaign cash is legitimate under state rules. Ysursa says campaign money can be used for anything related to being a holder of public office. He says even federal guidelines allow the use of campaign cash for legal defense.

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