Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Daily Caller: Richard Lugar Doesn't Live Here Anymore

As Secretary of State Charlie White's trial in Hamilton County gets underway, the Daily Caller dares to touch a story none of the media in Indiana will touch: Richard Lugar doesn't live here anymore. Lugar admits to the Daily Caller's Will Rahn (son of former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan) that he sold his only home in Indiana more than 35 years ago and relies on an Attorney General's opinion issued to him in 1982 to claim a registered voting address at his former home as his residence for voting purposes.
Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar is running for re-election in a state he has not lived in for over 30 years.
Lugar sold his home at 3200 Highwoods Court in Indianapolis shortly after first assuming office in 1977. But due to a loophole in Indiana law, both he and his wife Charlene Lugar are still registered to vote at that address . . .
Richard and Charlene Lugar’s drivers’ licenses, Wright found, say they live at 3200 Highwoods Court even though they have lived in the affluent Washington, D.C. suburb of McLean, Va., for decades. And when Sen. Lugar registered to run for president in 1996, he listed Highwoods Court as his address.
A spokesman for Lugar confirmed to TheDC that he has not owned any property in Indiana since 1977, but said it was still perfectly legal for him to live elsewhere while representing the state.
"He does not have a house in Indiana but that is immaterial to this,” the spokesman said. “This has always been his legal residence in terms of voting and for his driver’s license and everything else.”
“The attorney general for the state of Indiana has made rulings on this in the past,” he said.
Indeed, a 1982 letter to Lugar from then-Indiana Attorney General Linley Pearson said that the senator is not required to actually live in the state he represents because he is acting “on business of this state or of the United States.” According to the Indiana constitution, such persons cannot lose their voting rights in the state.
TheDC was unable to verify Monday evening whether this is also the opinion of Indiana’s current Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, or ascertain how the law applies to Sen. Lugar’s wife.
Lugar is unique among Indiana's congressional delegation in his belief that he doesn't have to maintain some type of residence to which he can return in order to vote and maintain his inhabitancy within the state because of some alleged loophole in the law. The U.S. Constitution requires all members of Congress to be inhabitants of their states at the time of their election. Other members of Indiana's congressional delegation at least maintain an apartment in their name at which they can register to vote, obtain a driver's license and register their cars, even if their primary residence is in the nation's capital. The law only protects Lugar from losing his residency in Indiana by living primarily in Washington, a necessity for all members of Congress given the year-round congressional calendar. As I've previously discussed, Lugar has failed the inhabitancy test the last five times he was re-elected to the Senate, and both he and his wife, Charlene, are arguably committing vote fraud by casting votes from an address at which they haven't resided in more than 35 years.

The current occupant of Lugar's home tells the Daily Caller that she was surprised to learn Lugar still claims her home as his residence, but she said it does explain why she still occasionally receives mail addressed to the Lugars.

Lugar’s spokesperson dismissed questions about the senator’s residency as old news that is well known to Indiana’s voters. But the news did come as surprise to Betsy Hughes, the current owner of 3200 Highwoods Court, who did not know Lugar was voting from her address until Wright told her.
“I knew [Lugar] built it,” Hughes told TheDC. “Every now and then we get his mail, and we couldn’t figure out why after all these years we were still getting his mail every now and then. And now we know why.”
“I was surprised, but I was more surprised that no one seemed that interested,” she added.
Hughes, a Republican who has voted for Lugar in the past, said she doesn’t know whether she will vote for him again in the GOP primary, or if his residency situation will impact her decision.
“If it’s illegal then yeah it will make a difference, but if it’s not then he’s within his rights I guess,” she said.
The Daily Caller's story was prompted by a complaint certified fraud examiner Greg Wright filed with the Indiana Election's Division questioning how Lugar and his wife can be registered to vote at a place at which they neither own nor have a possessory interest.

For his part, Wright is concentrating on getting the word out that Lugar no longer lives in Indiana, which he believes to be a genuine scandal.
“It’s just so amazing to me that the elite press has not picked up on this,” Wright said. “It’s just absolutely amazing.”
I'm not sure which is the bigger scandal. The fact that Lugar has been getting by with this for more than 35 years, or that the same news reporters who want to publicly hang Charlie White for voting at his ex-wife's home for a few month period prior to his election as the state's secretary of state don't see a story here.


Ben said...

Like Mourdock's campaign..this is a non issue

Paul K. Ogden said...

Really, Ben. You think it's a "non-issue" that the Senator and his wife have been committing felonies for 35 years by claiming, under oath, that they live in a house where another family lives? You think it's a "non-issue" that Lugar does not even have a residence in the State although one is required to be a U.S. Senator from Indiana? Certainly if you're willing to forgive Lugar for his transgressions at least be consistent and recognize the Charlie White prosecution for what it is, a persectuion.

Muldoon said...

Wouldn't this be called "Identity Theft"?