Many Senators, while serving, consider D.C. their home away from home, retaining primary residences in their home states — but Roy Blunt appears to not even consider his Missouri property a residence at all, sticking taxpayers with the bill when he’s supposedly visiting “home.”
Roy Blunt said he would fight corruption in Washington, even promising that he’d reform lobbying rules if elected. Yet he has become exactly the kind of insider he railed against. In fact, there is evidence that he doesn’t even live in his own home state. Blunt and his wife own a condominium in Springfield, MO, which Blunt purchased in 2013 at a discount from a public foreclosure auction.
But look at these numbers on the unit, grabbed from the Springfield City Utility Usage Report:
Blunt’s condo averaged 346.15 kilowatt-hours and $38.38 a month for utilities, which is a third the average consumption of neighboring units.
Meanwhile, this is Blunt’s property in Washington, D.C.:
Blunt has a 7-bedroom, 4-and-a-half bathroom mansion in the Beltway and a small condominium he hardly ever visits in his home state. He has billed taxpayers thousands of dollars in per diem expenses for trips taken to Missouri, including trips to his supposed “hometown” of Springfield.
Here is a sample sheet documenting Blunt’s per diems in Springfield for October 2011-March 2012. According to the report of Blunt’s Senate office expenditures over a longer five-year period, of the roughly $21,000 in taxpayer money Blunt has taken for his trips to Missouri, nearly $3,000 of it was in trips through the town where he supposedly lives.
Has Blunt violated the requirements of office? The Constitutional provision that a senator “be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen” is vague enough that Blunt is in compliance with the letter of the law, if not the spirit, by owning a condo in Springfield which he barely ever uses. But meeting the technical requirements for residency rules nonetheless raises questions about why he is using a per diem while he is ostensibly “at home.”
Missourians deserve to be represented by a person who has stronger ties to the state of Missouri, and who doesn’t bill the taxpayer for hanging out in the town in which he claims to live.