Just how much time does Republican Sen. Richard Lugar spend in Indiana?
The answer depends on who you ask.The Indiana Democratic Party has combed through records going all the way back to Lugar's first year in the Senate, 1977.
The hundreds of pages of itemized travel expenses were passed along to Fox News. Among the findings offered by the party is that the six-term US Senator has spend almost $50,000 in travel expenses just visiting his home state.
The expenses are necessary, in part, because Lugar has no home in Indiana. The Indiana Senator lives in the Washington DC suburb of McLean, Virginia. So, virtually every time Lugar stays in Indiana there's an added cost."At the very least, Senator Lugar should be compelled to better explain the more than twenty years worth of taxpayer dollars used to fund his travel expenses in Indiana," says state Democratic Party chairman Dan Parker.
Another of the Indiana Democratic Party's findings puts a finer point on the issue. It says Lugar appears to have expensed 325 nights in Indiana over a 21-year period, from 1990 through 2011.
The suggestion is that Lugar's time in the state has been limited to less than a year over the course of two-plus decades. The Lugar campaign says that suggestion is completely false."(Senator Lugar) spends a quarter of the year, every year in the state," says campaign spokesman David Wilkie.
Wilkie notes from February 1st of 2011 and 2012, Lugar has spent 89-days in Indiana. And while Lugar is not "domiciled" in Indiana, he does own a farm in the state which he still manages.
The issue of Lugar's time spent in Indiana is a sore one.Willkie's defense that Lugar has spent 89 days in Indiana over the past year means that Lugar was spending on average less than two weeks a year in the state during the previous 20-year period. Lugar began stepping up his travel to Indiana over the past year when it became clear that he was going to face a stiff primary race against Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. If Lugar manages to win renomination in May, he's going to be toast in the November election when his Democratic opponent begins running planned 30-second spots highlighting his residency issue to show how out of touch he has become after 36 years in the Senate.