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Pressler Principal Residence D.C.; SDGOP to Cry Voter Registration Perjury?

Paging Assistant Majority Leader-in-Waiting Lee Schoenbeck... Mr. Schoenbeck, Line 1...

Politico's Jake Sherman just Burt Elliotted Larry Pressler, whose principal residence appears still to be Washington D.C.:

Pressler, who served as a Republican in Congress from 1975 to 1997, and his wife receive the homestead deduction, a generous tax break meant for people who use their D.C. home as their “principal residence,” according to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue.

...Reached on his cell phone—with a D.C. area code—Pressler said Thursday evening the apartment is indeed his, and he remained in Washington after losing his Senate seat because his wife works in D.C.. He noted that they are "long-time voters in South Dakota" [Jake Sherman, "South Dakota Senate Candidate Lives in D.C.," Politico, 2014.10.10].

Long-time voters in South Dakota... that should trigger the Schoenbeck charge that registering to vote at an address where you don't "actually live" is perjury.

Hmm, so if Pressler is committing perjury, and if Rounds committed a felony by submitting false evidence... dang! Looks like we've got the Rick Weiland–Gordon Howie race we've all been waiting for!

Speaking of Weiland and Howie, here's their one-on-one conversation, recorded in Rapid City last month:

We're all South Dakotans. We're all Americans. We all want good things for our kids, for our country, for our economy. It requires throughout this process an opportunity to sit down and have these conversations [Rick Weiland, conversation with Gordon Howie, Rapid City, South Dakota, 2014.09.13].

If only both men had gotten out their guitars....

Update 14:38 CDT: Journalist and bar-certified lawyer Todd Epp says, "Don't think great thoughts; read the statute" and rules that Pressler qualifies as a registered voter in South Dakota. Epp's analysis may call into question Schoenbeck's challenge to Burt Elliott's State House candidacy.


  1. Bill Fleming 2014.10.10

    The new EVA Rounds and Pressler attack ads are a hoot.

    I was in the room when they filmed the Howie/Ricky debate, but maybe I should have put on my art director hat and taken a look at the camera monitor. (trying to remember if they had one set up...)

    Isn't the lighting just gawd-awful?

    Or wait... maybe it was intentional!

    He's got Howie glowing white hot, and Ricky darker than the inside of a hog. Could it be some kind of a secret code religion thingy? Who could we...

    Naawwww.... on second thought... never mind... it's just bad lighting.

    Good debate though, I thought.

    Nice job, guys!

  2. Rorschach 2014.10.10

    If Tom Dempster can claim an unfinished townhouse that he doesn't own and doesn't live in as his residence, why can't Burt Elliott claim someone's basement that he may occasionally sleep in as his residence?

    If Pat Roberts can live in DC and claim some Kansan's basement that he may occasionally sleep in as his residence, why can't Larry Pressler claim SD as his residence? I suspect Pressler actually owns property in SD, while Pat Roberts does not. The GOP is gonna give itself whiplash defending Pat Roberts while simultaneously indicting Larry Pressler.

  3. 12 2014.10.10

    Pressler has an apartment at Donegal Pointe in Sioux Falls. I'm aware of this because he lives on floor beneath my former apartment and I'd run into him on occasion in the elevator or the parking garage...

  4. 12 2014.10.10

    Erica at Donegal Pointe could confirm that Larry Pressler only moved into Donegal Point somewhere within the last 12 months. I distinctly remember that all of the door directories were removed (showing who lived in which apartment number for the intercom system) at the same time he moved in last winter. I wish I could remember which month... I don't feel like a lease on an apartment necessarily indicates "intent to move back here and make it his primary residence"... especially when he's angling for a job that would take him back to DC where his wife still works.

  5. larry kurtz 2014.10.10

    Pressler said on 100eyes that he is merely a renter.

  6. lee schoenbeck 2014.10.10

    Cory, tried to post on Todd's site, but it's not as user friendly as yours. todd doesn't do any analysis of the only law that matters currently in South Dakota, the Heartland case. It was the first time we learned whether the general scam Pressler is doing would cut it. The test is where does he keep his personal effects. There is an article where he goes on at length about how those are in DC. If he gets challenged under whatever method is allowed for US Senators - he has a problem. The method for South Dakota legislators is for the body to decide, per the Gutzler decision.

    Elliot and Pressler are not the first to face this. At least one South Dakota Supreme Court nominee withdrew after Heartland, because he refused to violate the law and do the apartment or PO Box scam - that was clearly illegal post-Heartland

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.10

    True, Lee! I do wonder how Epp's analysis squares with Heinemeyer. If location of personal effects is the standard, does that mean that Todd Epp was ineligible to vote while he was away and had his most essential personal effects in Kurdistan? Does that mean college students who take their underwear to campus can't keep their voting registration back in their hometown?

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.10

    And Lee, does Heinemeyer address the possibility that the Presslers' have two sets of personal effects? What if he has a fully furnished residence back in DC but maintains a second furnished residence here, complete with underwear drawers? (Surely no one is going to assert that Larry is going commando around South Dakota. Which is it, Senator: boxer, briefs, or back in DC?) Heinemeyer never set up housekeeping at Lonnie's apartment in town. Larry and Harriet quite likely have set up housekeeping here. Where should the two-home family register to vote?

  9. Gayle 2014.10.10

    Last night, Maddow said that at one point Pressler was talking about wanting to be the mayor of DC and thought he could win because he has a lot of black friends.
    Doesn't give me any warm fuzzy feeling he is invested in SD beyond a rented apartment,.

  10. Don Coyote 2014.10.10

    Since the Supreme Court decide in US Term Limits, Inc vs Thornton that the States can't have qualifications for members of Congress more strict than found in the Constitution, I would suppose that the relevant law concerning residency for Congress would be Article 1, Section 2, Clause 2 of the constitution: "... and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen." I would suppose Pressler's apartment or his Humboldt farm would suffice, however the unseemly appearance of him being a carpetbagger still fills the air with a noxious stench and one that any South Dakotan should consider when casting their vote.

  11. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.10.10

    Lee, thanks for responding to questions.

    You said, "general scam Pressler is doing." Are you willing to refer to Rounds behavior in a similar way?

    I be hard pressed to prefer Rounds' scamming to the question of Pressler's residence.

  12. John 2014.10.11

    Oh thank goodness we FINALLY have the professional media paying attention to this campaign. No local advertiser-beholden media would bother to investigate Pressler's residency claim, tax records, homeowner records, hosting of Romney campaign events while later pretending to support Obama, or ask the tough questions. Pressler's toast - a mere acting carpet bagger whom will circle the drain in the polls faster than did carpet-bagging, resident pretending Cheney's daughter in Wyoming.

    It's now a 2 man race. Game on. Grab the popcorn.

  13. John 2014.10.11

    Mr. Epp's hyper-technical residency analysis may fit for Mr. Epp or the common man. But when the SD unsophisticated common voter hears or reads terms like "homestead tax exemption" or "considered running for mayor" or has a $800k+ condo in DC and an apartment in New York City - the SD voter will realize Pressler is not an "ordinary" South Dakotan. Pressler's poll numbers will circle the drain within the week.

    From the Argus Leader:
    "Pressler has ties to D.C., and explored running for mayor there in 1998.
    "I have lived in D.C. since 1971, longer than anyone else who's running," Pressler told the Associated Press at the time.
    Washington D.C.'s homestead deduction has played a role in South Dakota politics before. In 2004, Sen. Tom Daschle was criticized for claiming the deduction on his District home."

  14. Greg 2014.10.11

    Does Larry Pressler really have the passion to represent the state of South Dakota when he has lived in DC for so many years? I really doubt that he does.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.11

    I understand the doubt, Greg, but here he is, traveling the state, going to debates, working the press and the populace, subjecting himself to abuse from Left and Right. He didn't just retire and come back, like Michael Jordan in basketball; he got retired—i.e., we fired him in 1996. That's perhaps the hardest, most public rejection a person can get, losing an election, yet here Pressler is saying, "Take me back, I'm willing to serve."

    I actually addressed the idea of remaining committed to South Dakota even while absent in my TEDx talk in Brookings last weekend. Remember, I've been on the road for over a year, yet I used my vacation this summer to drive around South Dakota interviewing and blogging, and I spent yesterday pretty much full-time at the computer posting ten articles, all on South Dakota, to this blog. A guy can go abroad, enjoy his opportunities, yet keep alive a sincere flame for his home state.

    My statement is not proof; Pressler could still be faking it or running for the wrong reasons. I'm just providing a counterexample and saying there is evidence and logic behind the claim that Pressler gives enough of a darn about South Dakota to be Senator one more time.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.11

    John, true, the connection to Daschle on this story won't help Pressler.

    There are two different courts to discuss here: the court of law, and the court of public opinion. I still find the court-of-law (and moral civic!) question fascinating: just where is a traveling or multi-domiciled citizen supposed to vote? How do we establish our right to participate in the life of the polis? Does the mobile citizen give up some right to seek public office? I'd love to get to grapple with the court challenge that would arise if Pressler won and Republicans (and maybe even the second-place Democrats) sought to block him from taking his seat by arguing residency in court. But I recognize that we won't get to that question if voters take the 10-second analysis—What? He lives in D.C.? Boooo! Carpetbagger!—and make a break for Gordon Howie.

  17. bearcreekbat 2014.10.11

    Don Coyote - Article 1, Section 2, Clause 2 of the constitution deals with qualifications for the House of Representatives rather than the Senate. You should reference Article 1, Section 3, paragraph 3 for the same requirement for Senators - "No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. . . ."

    I note the use of the term "inhabitant," rather than "resident" or "domicile," which are the usual words used in statutes. I am not aware of how the case law has defined the term "inhabitant," but the Merriam-Webster online dictionary definition is "one that occupies a particular place regularly, routinely, or for a period of time," and gives "resident" as a synonym.

  18. John 2014.10.11

    Cory, it would be interesting whether Pressler could pass the residency requirements for a fishing or hunting license. Recall Cheney's daughter couldn't and paid a WY fine, then withdrew; I think kicker Vinitari was residentially challenged with a SD hunting tag. So residency, domicile goes far deeper than citing one statute, for the criminal code for elective hunting and fishing also have residency definitions. At the end of the day the court of public opinion will prevail and send Mr. Pressler back to Foggy Bottom. He was a fine public servant, had his time, and it's time for him to do the honorable Tim Johnson-thing stepping aside for the next generation.

    The mobile citizen does not give up a right to vote or run for office; yet the voters do not give up the right to elect candidates who truly know the local issues on which they want representation. DC's Foggy Bottom and a NYC address near Park Avenue hardly are places from which to SD track local issues or opinions.

  19. bearcreekbat 2014.10.11

    Here is what the Senate says about "inhabitant" -

    "Inhabitancy: Although England repealed Parliament’s residency law in 1774, no delegates spoke against a residency requirement for members of Congress. The qualification first came under consideration on August 6 when the Committee of Detail reported its draft of the Constitution. Article 5, section 3 stated, “Every member of the Senate shall be . . . at the time of his election, a resident of the state from which he shall be chosen.”
    On August 8, Roger Sherman moved to strike the word “resident” from the House version of the clause, and insert in its place “inhabitant,” a term he considered to be “less liable to misconstruction.” Madison seconded the motion, noting that “resident” might exclude people occasionally absent on public or private business. Delegates agreed to the term, “inhabitant,” and voted against adding a time period to the requirement. The following day, they amended the Senate qualification to include the word, “inhabitant,” prior to passing the clause by unanimous consent."

    This history suggests that "inhabitant" is a softer and less demanding requirement than resident or domicile.

  20. jerry 2014.10.11

    So it would seem then that we have two out of the four running for senate that have some pretty dirty laundry. Rounds for corruption and Pressler for just being Pressler. I have always wondered why the FBI went to the effort to target Pressler in the first place. After reading a lot of stuff here on this blog and on this one,

    I do not think Larry Pressler is much better than Mike Rounds.

  21. larry kurtz 2014.10.12

    twitter is saying Pressler just reversed himself on Roe...again.

Comments are closed.