Reality check: The facts on Blunt's $1.5 million lot remain murky
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 21, 2010 - What's the truth about the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's TV spot that spoofs Republican Roy Blunt's status and style in Washington? The aim of the spot is to make Blunt appear part of Washington's social elite and out of touch with Missouri.
Despite initial denials from the Blunt camp, the ad accurately states that the congressman's family (technically, his wife's trust) owns a $1 million-plus residential lot. His congressional financial disclosure report lists the lot, with its address.
(The denial was based on an initial inaccurate address used by the DSCC in a letter to TV stations. The committee corrected that mistake and has listed the right address in a release sent last week.)
But the ad is incorrect in stating that Blunt currently is building a house on it. The lot, and design plans, are for sale for $1.6 million.
Blunt's staff denies that a building permit has been issued. However, records with the Washington, D.C., tax/revenue office show that there is some sort of building permit. (Here's the link: http://citizenatlas.dc.gov/atlasapps/propertyreports.aspx?SAR=administrative&ownerID=2709455. )
A Blunt spokesman said Tuesday that it is inaccurate to say that "there were building permits paid for and obtained by the Blunts. That is false."
As for the design plans, spokesman Rich Chrismer explained, "The Blunts hired an architect to draw up home plans in hopes it would help sell the property — not to actually build a home themselves."
The ad also inaccurately states that Abigail Blunt is a tobacco lobbyist. She used to be one, but now lobbies for Kraft Foods.