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Santorum's lawyer rebuffs challenge to residency

Friday, May 26, 2006

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum lives with his family at a Virginia house when Congress is in session, but state and federal laws allow him to keep his official voting residence in Pennsylvania, his lawyer wrote in a letter to Allegheny County.

The lawyer, David J. Porter, wrote a letter to the county solicitor in response to published reports that a Penn Hills man, Ed Vecchio, has challenged primary votes by Santorum and his wife, Karen, saying they do not actually live in their Penn Hills home. The county Law Department is reviewing the complaint, a spokesman said.

"These claims these folks are making are absolutely baseless," said Virginia Davis, spokeswoman for Santorum's re-election campaign. "These type of activities are for political gain only."

Santorum is running against state Treasurer Bob Casey, the Democratic nominee.

Members of Congress are protected by Pennsylvania and federal laws that allow them to maintain an official home in the district they represent, even if they live in and around the capital for parts of the year, Porter wrote.

Besides, he added, the Santorums maintain a residence in Penn Hills as evidenced by their property and school tax payments, voter registrations, driver's licenses, state and federal income tax payments, jury duty, family burial plot and proximity to the senator's in-laws, who live next door.

"They purchased the home in Penn Hills deliberately so as to be close to Mrs. Santorum's parents," Porter wrote.

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