MSNBC's Mitchell Fails to Ask Pressler About Residency Issue; Fmr. S.D. Senator Has Homestead Exemption for D.C. House

October 17th, 2014 4:05 PM

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell gave Republican-turned-independent and former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler a relatively soft interview on the October 17 edition of her eponymous Andrea Mitchell Reports program. While Mitchell did press him on which party he would caucus with should he win election, the veteran journalist failed to even mention that Pressler, like fellow Midwesterner Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), is the subject of a residency controversy. 

Roberts's residency issues you may recall, have been helpful to Democrat-supported independent Greg Orman, and MSNBC and other liberal media outlets have highlighted how Roberts effectively lives in Washington, D.C., and rarely visits his home in Dodge City, which is rented.

Well, it turned out Larry Pressler similarly has questionable residency issues, even if it's only a matter of appearance and fundamentally political troublesome but not a legal disqualifier from office. As David Montgomery of the Argus [S.D.] Leader reported last Friday (emphasis mine):

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Larry Pressler claims his Washington, D.C. condominium as his "principal residence" on tax forms.

Pressler, a former three-term senator trying to return to Congress, is registered to vote in Sioux Falls, where he rents an apartment. But he claims a "homestead deduction" for his $891,920 condo in Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood.

The homestead deduction reduces the taxable value of a home, and saved Pressler $596.70 in his most recent tax bill.

To claim the homestead deduction, Washington D.C.'s Office of Tax and Revenue requires it to be your "principal residence."

"If you are not domiciled in the District or the property is not your principal place of residence, you are obligated to inform the Office of Tax and Revenue," the office writes on its website.


Pressler said he used to own a home in the Bluffs neighborhood of Sioux Falls, but has since sold it.

"We have a very nice rental at this point," Pressler said. "We're trying to get back into the Bluffs."

Pressler didn't respond to a voice mail left on his cell phone Friday. In an email to Politico, Pressler wrote that his wife Harriet is the "primary co-owner" of the D.C. condo. She has a real estate business there.

"Her principal residence and career work has been in the city for more than three decades, which qualifies her for the Homestead Tax Exemption," Pressler wrote.

Larry Pressler's name is the sole listing on the Office of Tax and Revenue's website, but the most recent bill was addressed to both he and Harriet.

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.

So in Pressler we have an ex-senator who spends most of his time in Washington, D.C., who enjoys a tax benefit for doing so, who no longer owns a residence in his home state, and who toyed with the idea 16 years ago of running for mayor of Washington, D.C., bragging about living there longer than any of the other candidates who were running. and yet none of this comes up at all in Mitchell's interview.