Dude where's your home Part II

Another South Florida congressman has been caught living outside the congressional district they are elected to represent.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney has a homestead exemption on a house in Palm Beach Gardens and describes it as his primary residence.

But the address on Mahoney’s voter registration is a barn with a small apartment that he owns in the rural Caloosa area west of Palm Beach Gardens. The barn is in the 16th Congressional District that Mahoney represents; the homesteaded house is just outside Mahoney’s district.

Mahoney’s office and a prominent Tallahassee election lawyer say the arrangement, first described Thursday in the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, is entirely legal because the barn is in the same county as the homesteaded property.

Palm Beach Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits called the situation unusual, noting that local elected officials have historically gone to great lengths to avoid having homestead exemptions outside the districts they represent.

Nikolits said he plans to send a letter to Mahoney asking him to clarify his residency.

The campaign of Mahoney’s Republican challenger, Tom Rooney, called the residency arrangement “shameful,” adding fuel to a race that’s already expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation.

Before I get started, I’ll point out to non-Florida Wizbang readers that four Florida congressional districts 16, 19th, 22nd and 23rd converge or almost converge in Central Palm Beach County. I’m a resident of the 22nd(Ron Klein), but on an empty lot a 1/4 mile from my house are signs for both Robert Wexler(19th) and Alcee Hastings(23rd).

Tim Mahoney’s residence shenanigans comes barely a month after it was found out Cong. Robert Wexler was using his parent’s home as his place of residence in Florida. I’m betting a great many members of Congress don’t live where they are supposed to. It’s unlikely anything can be done legally about Wexler, Mahoney, or any others. Voters should however take their elected officials deception into consideration when election time comes around.

Robert Wexler will be re-elected in November. Mahoney, a democrat elected in 2006 to replace disgraced Republican Mark Foley, on the other hand faces a spirited challenge from businessman Tom Rooney. The Florida 16th was represented by Republicans from the day the district was created till 2006.(Note the Wikipedia entry mixes up who represented the vast majority of the FL 16th before 1992. It was Tom Lewis, not Larry Smith) There are more registered Republicans in the district than Democrats, but not by a wide margin. The Cook Partisan voting index rates the district R+2.

Mahoney’s residency question will not help him in November. Whether Rooney can win the seat back for the Republicans, I don’t know. They have a better chance in the 16th, than the 22nd where a Republican incumbent lost in 2006. Ron Klein will be elected in November.

In some related Florida 16th news, the investigation of former Cong. Mark Foley is coming to a close.

After an exhaustive two-year investigation, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley isn’t expected to face charges for sending salacious messages to underage pages, two federal law enforcement officials have told The Associated Press.

Results of a state investigation were to be announced Friday. An FBI investigation hasn’t been closed, but the officials said neither state nor federal charges were expected. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Foley resigned in 2006 after being confronted with the e-mails and instant messages he sent to pages. He has been under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.

Honestly, I’m not surprised no charges will be filed. In 2006 I felt sorry for the Congressman’s friends and family, but didn’t defend what Foley did. My opinion hasn’t changed.

Full disclosure- While neither I or my wife Leonita ever met Cong. Foley, we met and knew his parents. His father and mother were once Eucharistic Ministers at the Catholic Church my wife and I attend, which is also Leonita’s place of employment.

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