Sky High Congressional Rent and You're Paying for It!
At a time when the rest of America is being forced to tighten their belts, some in Congress may not have gotten the message. Inside Edition found that some Congressmen are paying sky-high rent for their office space and you're paying for it. Lisa Guerr
INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero asked a simple question, “Can we get a tour of your office space?”
Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) responded, “I don't think it's something you necessarily need to do.”
A manager of California Rep. Loretta Sanchez said, “We've been directed by our Washington office not to allow a tour of this office at this time.”
So, why are some congressmen reluctant to let us into their offices?
Maybe the colorful New York state politician Jimmy McMillan has the reason why: “The rent is too damn high!”
That's right, we found United States representatives paying sky high rents but it's no problem for them, because you're paying for it.
Watch the entire video segment here.
Congressman John Campbell of California is a fiscal conservative. He's often seen on news programs warning about wasteful government spending.
On CNN he declared, "What we need to do is get some spending cuts.”
On Fox News he said, "We cannot continue with trillion dollar deficits, period.”
But maybe Campbell should check out his own budget. His rent is among the highest in congress
$8,128 per month for a huge office in an Irvine, California, building that staffs just five workers.
Guerrero caught up with Rep. Campbell after a speech.
Guerrero asked, “Hi congressman, I’m Lisa Guerrero with INSIDE EDITION, I just wanted to ask you why you’re paying so much rent on your district office?”
Campbell responded, “This is one of the highest land cost areas in the country for office rent, for houses, for everything else.”
He says his decision to rent in the building has nothing to do with the fact that he's received $21,550 in contributions from the landlord's executives and other employees.
Guerrero asked, “Can we get a tour of your office space?”
Rep. Campbell responded, “I don't think it's something you necessarily need to do.”
Guerrero followed-up, “This is the taxpayers money, the taxpayers are paying for your office, so why wouldn’t' we be allowed to shoot it and show what the taxpayers are getting for their dime?”
He replied, “Ok, you can do that.”
What we found was a spacious 3600 square foot office with a conference room, kitchen area and lots of open space.
Congressman Campbell said, “Could we have gotten space for cheaper rent? Yes we could have. What I am most concerned about it security, that office we believe has the best security.”
Republican congressmen weren’t the only ones paying high rent; we had questions for some democrats too.
California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Ca) has a 3000 square foot office according to the leasing agent for her building. It costs taxpayers more than seventy five hundred dollars a month.
When we stopped by to take a look, an office manager wouldn't let us get past the lobby.
The manager said, “We've been directed by our Washington office not to allow a tour of this office at this time.”
We checked rent costs for the representative’s building and it appears she is paying 50% more than the going rate. We also found that the owner of the company she pays those big rents to has donated $24,500 to the congresswoman's campaigns over the years.
When her communications director didn't return our calls, Guerrero caught up with the congresswoman during an event at a local college.
“Hi, I’m Lisa Guerrero with INSIDE EDITION.”
Sanchez said, “Aren't you nice, how are you?”
Guerrero asked, “I'd like to ask you why you are overpaying on your rent for your district office, by over 50%?”
Sanchez replied, “I don't think I am actually.”
Guerrero than asked, “Does this have anything to do with the fact that your property is owned by a campaign contributor?“
Rep. Sanchez did not respond to that question and was ushered away by an assistant.
Melanie Sloan, the executive director of the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, said, “Any time a member of congress is renting space from a campaign contributor or friend, red flags are raised.”
Not all congressmen pay high rents. Rep Todd Rokita of Indiana pays only $800 per month for two district offices.
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