A Democratic Senate candidate claimed a Washington, D.C. home as his primary residence in order to obtain special mortgage terms for veterans, while also claiming a primary residence in his home state, according to a new report.
Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, who is running for the Senate in 2024, reportedly listed a home in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood as his “primary residence” as a condition for obtaining a special mortgage backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), according to mortgage documents obtained by Politico dated to August of 2022. Gallego agreed to the condition despite listing a home in Phoenix, Arizona, as his primary residence, as well, in a separate mortgage obtained for that property in September of 2021, where he agreed to maintain the property as his “primary residence” for one year, according to the document. (RELATED: Wall Street Critic Rep. Ruben Gallego Took More Than $100,000 In Campaign Cash From Corporate Donors)
The maintaining of two locations as a “primary residence,” a term that excludes more than one such home, raises questions about whether Gallego is primarily a resident of Washington, D.C. or Arizona as he begins his Senate campaign for the latter. Gallego is running against incumbent independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party shortly after the 2022 midterm elections.
In Arizona, teens as young as 14 have overdosed and died from fentanyl.
My bill, the Buck Stops Here Act, gives @USTreasury the power to pursue drug traffickers laundering money abroad – as we do with Russian money laundering groups – because this crisis must end. pic.twitter.com/nB99dVyXsm
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 20, 2023
“Ruben’s primary residence is in Arizona,” said Hannah Goss, a spokesperson for Gallego, in a statement to Politico, adding that “[t]he VA loan is a benefit that Ruben earned by serving his country as a Marine combat veteran.”
Others, however, took a different view. A VA spokesperson, speaking with Politico, noted that requirements to live in the home as a primary residence “are applied equally to all veterans and service members, and there is no exception to the policy based on a veteran’s occupation.”
Gallego’s mortgage in D.C. was worth $940,000 and is subject to beneficial terms for qualifying veterans — often including the waiver of down payments, waiver of insurance fees and lower-than-market rates, among others. Gallego served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlistee from 2000 to 2006 and was deployed to Iraq.
It is unclear whether Gallego broke any laws by listing as his “primary residence” two properties, at two different times and in different states. The National Republican Senatorial Committee accused Gallego of committing “mortgage fraud.” The VA Benefits Guide specifies that a veteran should discuss “unusual circumstances of occupancy” with the VA office that oversees their approval for a VA-guaranteed home loan, while a loan savings officer told Politico that such loans can be approved.
The U.S. Constitution requires all senators to be “an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen,” and Arizona law states that a person “employed in service of the United States” does not lose Arizona residency while absent from the state for that purpose.
The latest polling shows Gallego leading Sinema in a three-way Senate race with a Republican nominee, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Gallego and Sinema’s offices did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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