SCRANTON -- A state representative from Lackawanna County regrets being reimbursed taxpayer money to pay for gasoline he used to get to and from a Penn State football game last fall.
His acknowledgment came Friday after a Newswatch 16 investigation.
Our investigation found that roughly 40 percent of area lawmakers take advantage of free Penn State football tickets offered by the university.
But Rep. Frank Farina is the only lawmaker we know of who took the free tickets, and was reimbursed for mileage. He now says he's paying the money back.
State Representative Frank Farina made his apology in front of the Lackawanna County Courthouse in downtown Scranton.
Farina now admits he never should have asked taxpayers to foot the bill for family trip expenses to and from Beaver Stadium from Jessup to watch a Penn State football game last fall in a luxury box.
"I am here today to acknowledge an error in judgment that I made, for which I accept full responsibility," said State Rep. Frank Farina, (D) 112th District.
Farina explained he thought he could expense the trip to happy valley, because at the game he met with Penn State President Eric Barron and talked about higher education. The game tickets were free, courtesy of Penn state.
After submitting his expense report, Farina received $197 for mileage to and from the game, a decision he now admits was insensitive.
"We live in difficult times, and many of my constituents face economic hardships, and had I looked at the situation from their point of view, I would have seen that it was against better judgment," Farina said.
Representative Farina's statement comes less than two weeks before his primary election. What do voters think of his statement?
"We all make mistakes. I've made quite a few in my life. I think he's a good man," said Alice Walter of Jermyn.
"Frank Farina is going to lose this election," said Tony Wrightson of Jessup. "And it's the people who are going to step up to the plate and say, 'you did something wrong Mr. Farina.'"
At the news conference, Rep. Farina promised to take a closer look at his business expenses, and said he's accomplished a lot in Harrisburg.
"I hope you will judge me in light of my entire body of work," he said.
Rep. Farina announced he is now going to join other representatives and become a co-sponsor of a bill that limits the value of gifts lawmakers can accept.
If it is passed, lawmakers could no longer accept free tickets for Penn State football games.