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Government, Politics & Issues

Akin, Democrats spar over where he lives, and where he votes

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 1, 2011 - A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, has offered further details about the congressman's move from his longtime homestead in Town and Country, in the wake of Democratic calls for an investigation into whether Akin illegally voted in Town and Country while actually residing in Wildwood.

State Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights, said she's "strongly considering'' whether to request St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch to look into the matter.

"What the congressman has done is breaking the law,'' Newman said. The state Democratic Party also has called on Akin to "be honest and transparent about when he moved."

Akin spokesman Steve Taylor contended that no laws have been broken and asserted that the controversy, first reported by the Post-Dispatch, has been "manufactured." Akin is an announced candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Claire McCaskill.

"There's no problem here,'' Taylor said. "Given that there is no violation of the law, the inordinate attention is unwarranted and aggravating."

Taylor maintained that the congressman and his wife long have split their time between both residences, as they spent several years renovating the house in Wildwood. Some materials, including cabinets and windows, came from the Town and Country home, where Akin's family resided for decades.

The Wildwood home was purchased in late 2007, but Taylor said it was much later before the Akins began living there on a part-time basis.

"They've been transitioning for some time,'' said Taylor. "If I had to pick him up for a Saturday interview, I'd ask, 'Where am I picking you up?' "

Taylor said the utilities are still on in both houses, and mail is delivered to both addresses. Some furniture also remains at the Town and Country home. He added that Akin's family vehicles have been registered at the Town and Country residence, which also is the one listed on the congressman's driver's license. Akin planned to change the address on his driver's license this week, Taylor said.

Voting records show that Akin used the Town and Country as his voting address, last casting a ballot in the municipality's April election.

For decades, Todd Akin rented the Town and Country home from his father, the Rev. Paul Akin, who is in his 90s and lives elsewhere. Paul Akin has wanted to sell the eight-plus acre property for some time, Taylor said, which is what prompted the 2007 purchase of the Wildwood home.

Taylor said the final stages of the move are now under way, since Town and Country officials last week approved a plan to subdivide the acreage into seven or eight housing lots. The original house will be razed within weeks, Taylor said.

The house's pending demise is what prompted Monday's holiday gathering (pictured above) of family and friends, Taylor added.

But Newman contends that Akin is practicing "a double standard,'' by attacking vote fraud while potentially engaging in it.

"You're supposed to register (to vote) where you reside,'' she said. "Is it OK not to follow the statutes just because you are an elected official?"

Newman particularly faulted Akin because he has been among Republicans supporting measures requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot. Newman noted that the photo-ID requirement, which she opposes, would not protect against those who use incorrect addresses.

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