Saturday, February 4, 2012

CNN Covers Lugar's Lack of Indiana Residency While Local Media Blackout Continues

Although the local media continues with the media blackout on the Lugar (lack of Indiana) residency story, it is started to be picked up by national news outlets.  As reported by CNN:
Senator Richard Lugar
Republican Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana responded Friday to recent reports that show he doesn’t live in the state he’s been representing for more than 35 years.

The longtime senator told CNN he maintains a residence for “political purposes” in Indianapolis but doesn’t live at the physical address-staying in hotels around the state, instead.

Lugar pointed to a loophole in Indiana law that protects his residency status while he lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area.

According to the state’s constitution, an absent individual does not lose residence as long as he or she is away “on the business of the State of Indiana or the United States.”
The longtime senator listed his voting address as 3200 Highwoods Court in Indianapolis but said his actual home is located in McLean, Virginia–a Washington suburb.
Brad King, co-director of the Indiana Election Division, said as long as an individual establishes residency before he or she leaves the state for work, the law permits that person to remain a resident, no matter how long that person is gone.
As for voting standards, King said voters must list a residence when they first register to vote, but they’re not required to show proof of residence.
If they move, they’re directed to indicate a change of address but, again, not required to prove the change.
The rest of the story can be read here.

Lugar claims he "maintains a residence for 'political purposes' in Indianapolis?"  Really?  Where is that residence?  The 3200 Highwoods Court, Indianapolis, Indiana address Lugar signs under is his residence when he goes to vote was sold 35 years ago and he hasn't stepped a foot in that house since then.  It is unclear where exactly this "residence" is that Lugar claims to be "maintaining" in Indiana and if he is doing so, why doesn't he list that address as his residence instead of someone else's home?

King's comments, while correct, could be confusing as reported.  First, you have residency as a qualification for U.S. Senate.  The U.S. Constitution requires that you be a resident of the State you are elected.  The Indiana Constitution and state says you don't lose that residence because of your service in public office.  That means if Lugar spends 11 months out of the year in D.C. he is not considered a D.C. resident instead of an Indiana residence.   That makes perfect sense.  But you can lose your Indiana residence for another reason besides your service in D.C....namely that you give up that Indiana residence, which is what Lugar did when he sold the home and didn't establish any other residence.  Lugar stays in hotel rooms when he comes to Indiana.  Further, it should be noted that it is highly questionable that Indiana law can somehow supplement or change a federal constitutional qualification provision regarding residency to serve as U.S. Senator. Past court decisions have not allowed states to supplement federal constitutional qualification provisions such as a state providing for term limits for their members of Congress.

The second concept is voter fraud/perjury.  King is right that a person only initially lists a residence when they register.  However, the absentee ballot application Lugar repeatedly filled out to vote specifically requires him to identify his residence under penalties of perjury.  And when Lugar voted, he had to affirm under oath he was still living at the address he registered using.  Lugar has repeatedly signed under penalties of perjury that he lives at 3200 Highwoods Court in Indianapolis when he has voted.  Lugar though knows perfectly well he hasn't lived at 3200 Highwoods Court in decades. 

There is nothing in the law that gives Lugar a pass on voter fraud and perjury, allowing him to falsify his residence under oath.  And there certainly is nothing that excuses his wife, Char, who has done the same thing.  What White was convicted of is jaywalking compared to the criminal charges Lugar and his wife could easily be charged with but aren't being charged because they, unlike White, are popular and powerful.

It's great that the national media is starting to cover this story.  It's shameful the Indianapolis Star and local television stations continue to be afraid to report a story, especially in light of the massive coverage given the White voter fraud charges.


Cato said...

I'd have to think that one of Vop's first matters of business will be to replace Brad.

marksmall2001 said...

(1) "media" is the plural form of "medium." Please match your verbs: the media are... See?
(2) I never have understood why Lugar has tried to skate on this one. The decision is stupid. He has a lot of money (it pays to be a Senator) and easily can afford a house. Houses are especially cheap, for those with money, since the housing bubble burst. he could buy a place and spend one night a year there. Of course, some of the real buys are in places he might not want to spend one night. Maybe that would make more "real" for him the problems his citizens face.

Jeff Cox said...

Mark is right. This is incredibly stupid on Lugar's part. There is a difference between maintaining kind of a sham residence (property you lease or own but in which you don't live most of the time), which is perfectly legal if dubious ethically, and maintaining absolutely nothing. The law is and should be more flexible for elected representatives who must spend a lot of time in DC or Indy away from their home districts, but not THIS flexible.

Voting from a house with which you make no pretense of having any legal relationship sounds like vote fraud on its face. I can't see how Lugar defends this. Brad King is an excellent attorney; I don't understand his theory either.

Richard Mourdock has been handed a major issue here. Can he take advantage?

rohshack147 said...

Look at this Paul! You will find the comments by the reporter and Charlie White enlighting! God Bless Fox News!