Gov. Jeb Bush said that his wife "feels horrible" about failing to declare $19,000 worth of clothing and jewelry she bought in Paris, but did it so he wouldn't find out how much she spent.
"It is a lot of money. But look, that's between her and me," said Bush, adding that his wife was embarrassed.
Columba Bush paid $4,100 in duty and fines to the Customs Service for failing to declare the merchandise upon her arrival in Atlanta last week.
The governor, who did not accompany his wife on the trip, was asked about the fine Monday before he signed a sweeping education reform package into law.
"I can assure you it was a difficult weekend at our house," he said. "She knew that what she did was wrong and made a mistake."
International travelers do not have to pay duties on foreign purchases that total less than $400. Mrs. Bush declared only $500 worth of merchandise.
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