Councillor expelled for claiming US commute expenses bares all
Fiona Govan · 30 Nov 2015, 14:36
Published: 30 Nov 2015 14:36 GMT+01:00
- Spanish newcomers Ciudadanos run close second to PP in new poll (02 Nov 15)
- Spanish party Ciudadanos strives to occupy the political centre (11 Oct 15)
- Politician fired for claiming costs of council meeting commute from US (07 Oct 15)
Carmen López, a 43-year-old lawyer who was elected to the council of Castilleja de la Cuesta in May chose to follow in the footsteps of Ciudadanos party leader Albert Rivera, who famously stripped off in his first campaign posters back in 2006.
The former beauty queen turned lawyer chose to defend her reputation in the pages of Interviú magazine, which hit the news stands on Monday with images of a naked López on its cover.
Ciudadanos, the centrist party that has gone from strength to strength since expanding nationally from a Catalan regional party earlier this year, decided to expel López, after it emerged she had moved to Chicago and was flying back for council meetings – and claiming the costs as travel expenses.
López has appealed the expulsion and on the pages of Interviú insisted that she had been a victim of a smear campaign.
"I moved to Chicago out of absolute necessity. My husband was out of work and I had dedicated my time exclusively to the Citizens party and local politics without receiving a penny for it," said López who appeared over a dozen pages in the latest edition of Interviú in various scantily clad poses.
"Then after the elections my husband was assigned a job as a teacher in Chicago through the Education Ministry."
She disputes the party reasoning that they knew nothing about the move until the scandal broke in the press.
"I sent a bureaufax informing the party," she insisted. "They can’t deny that they knew I was moving to Chicago."
But several weeks later her request for reimbursement for the 4,000 mile round trip was leaked to the press and caused a scandal, a fact which she believes was a set up.
"I requested to use video conferencing, which is free, but it was denied, It left me no choice. The trap was set and I fell into it," she said.
Albert Rivera's stripped off for his campaign poster in 2006. Photo: Ciudadanos
Ciudadanos, which started out as a Catalan regional party before expanding nationwide in early 2015 is now running neck and neck in the polls with the ruling conservative Popular Party and opposition socialist PSOE ahead of the general elections on December 20th.
Rivera reportedly responded to the Interviú magazine cover with the comment: "Mine used less photoshop".