Politics

Defeated congresswoman’s car still in House parking lot — more than 3 years later — even though she’s a registered lobbyist

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Former Rep. Melissa Hart may have hit the road and gone back home to Pittsburgh in 2006 when she lost her bid for re-election, but it appears that a car she owns still remains in the Longworth House Office building parking garage — more than three years after she left Congress.

hart_car

It looks like Hart, a Republican who represented Pennsylvania’s 4th District, left her white, older model Volkswagen Jetta six parking spaces away from the parking garage’s entrance into the buildings that house congressional offices in Washington.

But Hart’s “dude where’s my car” dilemma may not be her only problem, if the car is in fact hers. According to the Committee on House Administration Web site, former members can only park in the garages if they are not registered lobbyists. Hart, who now chairs Pittsburgh-based law firm Keevican Weiss Bauerle & Hirsch’s Government Relations practice, is registered in the Senate lobbyist database.

A woman identifying herself as Hart answered the phone at her law office, but hung up after the reporter asked if the car belonged to her. The Daily Caller reporter immediately called Hart back and left a message at her work, but she did not return those calls or subsequent e-mails.

Kyle Anderson, a spokesman for the Committee on House Administration, refused to confirm whether the car belongs to Hart, saying by e-mail that: “As a rule, we do not provide information on the owners (members or staff) of vehicles stored in House Parking facilities.”

Bumper stickers on the car point to Hart, as does the fact that the license plate is from Pennsylvania. There’s a Washington and Jefferson College sticker (of which Hart is a 1984 graduate) on the back window. And there’s a George W. Bush for President sticker on the bumper.

Anderson said all vehicles parked in House permit-only areas must display both valid license plates and current parking permits.

“The vehicle in question is not displaying valid registration and we are in the process of contacting the owner,” he said.

It’s clear the car hasn’t moved in at least a few years: A sign in the dashboard reads “109th Congress” (which lasted from 2005 to 2007 and was the last Congress Hart served in). The Pennsylvania license tag expired last year.

Most noticeably is the grayish soot, made up of dirt and dust accumulated over time, that several jokesters have written quips into. “I wish my wife was this dirty,” someone drew into the dust on the back window. (Another person, presumably, responded: “She is!”)

Other remarks like, “F-ing wash me,” and “Tow me” and “I’m with stupid” scatter the rest of the car.

Hart, who served three terms in Congress, is the only Republican woman in history to represent Pennsylvania at the federal level. After losing to the Republican lost re-election to Democrat Jason Altmire in 2006, she attempted to win back the seat in 2008 but lost.

  • Pingback: Melissa Hart’s parking for life | 40ag.com

  • findlayboy

    Is it just me, or do the license plate and Bush sticker look awkwardly photoshopped in? Also, the W+J sticker in the back window is awful easy to read considering the filthy state of the rest of the car. I’m not really an expert on such matters, and I’m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here, because what the heck would be the point of such a stupid conspiracy? Just looks a little weird, is all. Just sayin’.