HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A new report says lax campaign finance rules let Pennsylvania’s state lawmakers shield from public scrutiny spending on food, booze and travel, and officials often report them as simply credit card payments or expense reimbursements.

A yearlong investigation by the Spotlight PA and Caucus news organizations published Tuesday says reporting practices can make it very hard for outsiders to figure out how legislative campaign donations are spent.

The news organizations say their review of thousands of pages of records indicated state House and Senate candidates spent nearly $3.5 million that can’t be fully traced from 2016 through 2018.

They say the spending includes foreign trips, sporting event tickets, country club memberships and a DNA test kit.

Pennsylvania’s campaign finance rules put no limits on donations and have minimal penalties for failing to comply.

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