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February 08, 2006

Boehner Rents Apartment From Lobbyist

But it's not necessarily bad:

Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who was elected House majority leader last week, is renting his Capitol Hill apartment from a veteran lobbyist whose clients have direct stakes in legislation Boehner has co-written and that he has overseen as chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee.

The relationship between Boehner, John D. Milne and Milne's wife, Debra R. Anderson, underscores how intertwined senior lawmakers have become with the lobbyists paid to influence legislation. Boehner's primary residence is in West Chester, Ohio, but for $1,600 a month, he rents a two-bedroom basement apartment near the House office buildings on Capitol Hill owned by Milne, Boehner spokesman Don Seymour said yesterday. Boehner's monthly rent appears to be similar to other rentals of two-bedroom English basement apartments close to the House side of the Capitol in Southeast, based on a review of apartment listings.

Possible problems:

-- The rent is "similar" to other rents. But if it's, say, $200 per month less than the going rate, that ads up to $1200 year in what could be called a contribution.

-- Boehner had better being paying the rent more or less on time every month. If it turns out that he's several months behind, etc., that's a big problem.

-- A basement apartment? I think snoops will want to know if he's actually in that apartment, or perhaps in a nicer apartment owned by the same lobbyist, with the basement apartment simply the one he pays rent on -- a paper rental serving to disguise a subsidized apartment.

For the moment, the Post dug, and seems to have come up dry. One wonders why, with all the possible real estate in DC, Boehner chose to rent from a lobbyist. It may be that lobbying firms buy up a lot of Washington real estate to rent, primarily to Congressmen, to have that much more of a relationship with them, and so they own a lot of the rental properties near the Capitol.

We'll see. For now there's no fire and only a tiny trickle of smoke.


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posted by Ace at 11:08 AM

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