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Education commissioner overspent on hotels, travel


HELENA — An audit of the office of the Commissioner of Higher Education found the agency overspent on hotels, travel and meals, including hotel rooms for members of the Board of Regents and staff the night before Cat-Griz football games in 2017 and 2018.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports Commissioner Clayton Christian agreed with recommendations by legislative auditors to better monitor spending of the agency that oversees the Montana university system.

The Board of Regents holds meetings on the Thursday and Friday before the Montana-Montana State rivalry football games in the city where the games are held. The meetings adjourn on Friday morning, but auditors found the commission paid for 10 hotel nights on the Fridays before the 2017 and 2018 games.

Auditors also found officials flew instead of drove to events in eastern Montana and exceeded meal costs at times.

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