Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president, is facing allegations that he committed fraud when he voted in the January 2010 Massachusetts special election.
The allegations come from fellow Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger, a self-desribed “old opposition research campaign consultant” who is running a long-shot campaign.
Karger filed a complaint Monday with the State of Massachusetts, asking that Romney be investigated for registering to vote from an address that he did not live at. During the special election Romney was living in one of two places, and neither of them was in Massachusetts, Karger alleges.
Romney was registered to vote at the address of his son’s home in Massachusetts during the time that he did not own a house in the state, from April 2009 to July 2010, according to Karger’s research.
Karger says that the Romneys live in a California house that they purchased in 2008 and spend summers at a New Hampshire home they purchased in May 2009.
Massachusetts law defines a residence as “where a person dwells and which is the center of his domestic, social, and civil life.” Committing voter fraud in the state is punishable by five years in jail and a fine of $10,000.
“Here’s someone who has said many different things. I’m not trying to get him disqualified or anything, but I think it points to his character,” Karger said in an interview with The Daily Caller. “I certainly don’t think he was living in the basement of his son’s house.”
To support his allegations, Karger probed Romney’s real estate history and interviewed people belonging to his former church’s congregation. He additionally asked Ann Romney where the couple lived, and she reportedly told him California.
According to the complaint, “A member of the nearby Mormon Temple and Meetinghouse in Belmont, Massachusetts, where Mitt and Ann Romney were weekly church goers, said she ‘hadn’t seen the Romneys since 2008.’” Additionally, “Their realtor at Coldwell Banker who sold them their new town home in Belmont stated, ‘Oh, they moved to California.’”
Karger said that public records indicate that Romney “voted by absentee much more often than not after he allegedly lived at his son’s house.”
Jail time for Romney isn’t his end goal, Karger said. “I’m not attempting for any repercussions from this, but it points to Mitt Romney’s character,” he said.
“He should have re-registered if he sold his house, he should have registered at one of his other residences, not out of his son’s basement,” Karger said. “He ended up buying a town home 15 months later, and I’m sure that was at the urging of his campaign consultants” who Karger believes told Romney that it “just wasn’t believable.”
Brian McNiff of the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Elections Division told TheDC that the state will not investigate the matter.
“This was adjudicated before,” McNiff told TheDC, saying that the issue was resolved “in 2002, when he ran for governor.”
McNiff said that although the allegations relate to changes of residency after 2002, “the time to bring this up was when he voted.”