Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mourdock Hits Lugar On Failure To Reside In Indiana

For the first time in his campaign against six-term incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is taking on the issue of Lugar giving up his home in Indiana more than 35 years ago, noting Lugar's constitutional failure to remain an inhabitant of the state he represents in the Senate. A press release issued today reads:

Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, U.S. Senate Candidate for the 2012 Republican Primary on May 8th, called upon Senator Dick Lugar to move back to Indiana and establish a home after a Lugar spokesman admitted that the Senator had not been a resident of the state since 1977.
It is unclear from public statements by Lugar’s campaign how the Senator’s lack of a physical residence in Indiana complies with the requirement of Article 1, Section 3 of the U. S. Constitution, which requires a U.S. Senator to be an “inhabitant” of the state he or she represents when elected.

“We have been making the case since last year that Senator Lugar has become out of touch with Hoosier Republicans on issues like the increase in our massive national debt, wasteful earmark spending, and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Now, we know why. Sadly, Senator Lugar went to Washington, D.C. and left Indiana behind,” stated Treasurer Mourdock.
A January 30th article in the Daily Caller reported that public records showed that Lugar and his wife sold their westside Indianapolis home, located at 3200 Highwoods Court, in July of 1977 and purchased a home in the exclusive Washington, D.C. suburb of McLean, Virginia the same month.

The Daily Caller article went on to describe how the current owner of the Highwoods Court property had no idea that Senator Lugar continues to claim it as his legal residence, including listing the address on his recent re-election filing with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office and the Federal Election Commission when he filed to run for President in 1996.

Senator Lugar himself admitted in a recent interview with CNN that he has continued to vote from the Highwoods Court address in Indiana elections since 1978 and has listed it as his residence for “political purposes.”

A Lugar spokesman claimed last week in a local TV interview that the Senator relies on an Indiana law meant to protect the voting rights of military service members who are absent from the state due to deployment overseas.

“I find it troubling that Senator Lugar would try to use a law meant for troops serving in combat overseas to justify not maintaining a home in Indiana,” stated Treasurer Mourdock.

The Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party Dan Parker indicted last week that the Democrats intend to make this an issue in November’s election if Senator Lugar would win the primary.

“Republicans can’t afford to lose this Senate seat because Lugar prefers not to have a home in Indiana,” stated Treasurer Mourdock.
The man's telling it like it is. Forget that 1982 Indiana Attorney General's opinion about what Indiana law provides. The only law that matters as to Lugar's eligibility to hold office is what the U.S. Constitution provides, and it states in no uncertain terms that Lugar must be able to etablish that he is an inhabitant of the state at the time of the election. He has already admitted that he maintains no physical presence in the state other than a home he sold more than 35 years ago. The Democrats are frothing at the mouth to use this issue against Lugar. It will be like taking candy from a baby. It plays right into the opposition's hands that Lugar has become out of touch after an unprecedented six terms in the Indiana Senate. The Indiana constitutional provision providing that one doesn't lose his residence in Indiana during absences in service to the federal government cannot be read to excuse a U.S. Senate candidate from the inhabitancy requirement. If Lugar has no physical residence to which he can return in Indiana, he isn't an inhabitant. It's that plain and simple.

I've challenged reporters to poll all of the members of Indiana's congressional delegation on whether they maintain a residence in Indiana, even if their primary residence is in Washington. U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, the presumptive Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, has already gone on record stating that he still maintains his home in Indiana after first being elected to Congress several years ago. I think you will find that every member of Indiana's congressional delegation at least rents an apartment or a house within the state, even if they no longer own a home here. WISH-TV's Jim Shella, who dislikes Mourdock and serves as a mouthpiece for the Lugar campaign, the other day mentioned that former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton had told him that he had given up his home in Indiana while he was still serving in Congress. To my recollection, that issue was never raised in his many re-election campaigns, and if had been, it might not have turned out quite so well for him. Hamilton certainly didn't advertise the fact that he didn't have a home in Indiana while he was still in Congress.

I ask my fellow Republicans. If you don't believe this issue is explosive, then look no further than how the Democrats managed to criminalize Charlie White's acts, which every political observer worth his salt would have agreed prior to that ordeal that the issues raised in his case would not carry the day legally because almost everyone has at one time or another done something similar to what White did. On very flimsy legal arguments that White committed vote fraud for using his ex-wife's home as his registered voting address for a several month period, the Democrats succeeded in not only getting a judge to order White tossed from office, but also to get an over zealous special prosecutor to trump up felony charges against him that a jury was incapable of discerning was a load of crap. We can't afford to throw this Senate seat away based upon sentimental feelings about our long-time senator.

Mourdock's campaign has launched this new video to buttress the candidate's message:

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