Monday, November 10, 2014

ILL-inois: Dem congressman Bobby Rush pays no rent for office

Former Black Panther Bobby Rush, who embarrassed himself when he wore a hoodie on the floor of the House of Representatives, now finds himself in more serious trouble.

But in Illinois, which has safe districts drawn for Democrats, Rush probably won't face any backlash.

From Roll Call:
In 1989, Rep. Bobby L. Rush moved into an office space in Chicago's South Side, while the Democrat was serving as an alderman on the city council. He has stayed there — rent-free — ever since, racking up $365,040 in unpaid rent, according to an Office of Congressional Ethics report made public Monday.

The House Ethics Committee simultaneously announced it will continue to gather facts in the case, without launching a formal investigation.

The 11-term lawmaker told OCE that he has never paid rent for use of the office space, and that he has never been asked to pay rent. However, Rush told OCE that he understood that, before joining Congress in 1993, rent was paid by the City of Chicago for his service as an alderman. Since then, Rush has used the office for Cook County political ward meetings, meeting with prospective candidates in his capacity as Illinois Democratic Party Central Committeeman, and a gathering place to watch election returns.

Rush told the OCE that he has never received any communications from the landlord that rent was due and that he believed his presence in the space served some “benefit” to the landlord because his "name was on the door," according to OCE. He and his campaign staff also acknowledged only incidental use of the space.
The space is not an official Rush congressional office, but it could be viewed as an in-kind contribution to Rush, which is against the law and of course against the rules of the House.

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