U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-In., paid the federal treasury more than $14,000 on Friday after improperly billing taxpayers for hotel stays in the Indianapolis area dating back to 1991.
The six-term Senator has lived in northern Virginia since taking office in 1977 and has stayed in hotels during visits back to Indiana for the past 35 years. Lugar has continued to use the street address of his former home as his “official” residence, however, he has cited a loophole in state law and several other legal opinions that allowed him to do so while living outside the state.
The Indiana Republican said Friday that an investigation by the Senate’s disbursing office initiated at his request found he improperly billed taxpayers for his hotel stays for all but seven years during his time in office, amounting to $14,684.85. He cut a personal check paying off that amount on Friday.(SNIP)The issue over his residence has been an unwelcome distraction for Lugar. He lives in McLean, Va., in the Washington suburbs, and stays at hotels and with friends when he visits the state. On Friday, Lugar reached a settlement with the Marion County election board allowing him to vote in the state so long as he’s registered at a farm owned by his family for years.
Earlier this month, an Indiana election board disqualified Lugar’s residency and ruled he was ineligible to vote in his own re-election bid. However, Lugar and election officials reached an agreement allowing him to vote using an address at a family farm.