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Zinke’s wife declares primary residence in California as he runs in Montana


Meanwhile, a tax return submitted to the Santa Barbara County government shows a homeowner’s exemption for the California home for the fiscal year that began last July. The exemption, which provides a $7,000 deduction on property value assessments, applies to homes that “must have been the owner’s principal place of residence” at the start of the calendar year.

“Where a husband and wife have more than one residence, their principal residence is the residence where they intend to live permanently,” according to a California state law.

There is nothing illegal about a candidate having their primary residence in one state and running for office in another. Article I of the Constitution stipulates that a candidate must reside in the state in which he seeks federal office on Election Day and makes no mention of permanent residence, said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal reform at the Campaign. Legal Center, a nonprofit organization that focuses on campaign and election law.

But Zinke’s residency could be a big political issue as he tries to join Congress. In Montana, outsiders are wary enough that Democrats in 2018 tagged the GOP Senate nominee and now Rep. Matt Rosendale as “Maryland Matt” – even though he had moved to Montana a decade and a half earlier.

The Zinkes have listed the California home as their mailing address several times since he decamped from the Interior in January 2018. Examples include federal campaign donation forms and an SEC filing of his company’s contract for counsel with the mining company US Gold Corp.

Ryan Zinke lists a house in Whitefish as the address on his campaign materials. County tax records show Whitefish home as the mailing address for Continental Divide International LLC, the consulting company that Zinke operates, Far North Veterans Peace Parkthe non-profit Zinke Family and other businesses.

But a search of the Flathead County Recorder’s office, where Whitefish is located, shows no homeownership statements for a primary residence for Zinke.

A spokesperson for the Zinke campaign pushed back against the idea that he is anything less than a full resident of Montana.

“No matter how creatively you phrase it, Ryan Zinke does not live or own property in California,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “He lives in Whitefish where he grew up, graduated from high school, his sons graduated from high school and lived his whole life – and his records prove it. Ryan supports his wife’s decision to keep her deceased parents’ property, of which she is the sole owner. Any husband worth his salt would do the same.

A house listed as a spouse’s primary residence would normally indicate that it is both spouses’ primary residence, said Andrew Hayashi, director of the Virginia Center for Tax Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. .

“The details for determining residency will depend on state or local laws, but I think it would be hard to sell to any tax authority that the applicant and his wife do not have the same primary residence (assuming they are not not separated),” Hayashi said via email.

The issue has become one of the main political weapons that some of Zinke’s Republican primary contestants have used against him.

“This is just another example of Ryan not being completely honest and transparent with the people of Montana about exactly where he lives,” Montana State Senator Albert Olszewski said. who is Zinke’s main rival in the June 7 primary.

“What I’ve heard all over the state is people just saying, ‘Look, Ryan doesn’t even live here, Ryan lives in California,'” said Olszewski, who frequently mentions the residency issue in campaign speeches.

There has been no public poll on the race, although Olszewski said his recent internal polls show a close primary.

This year has seen more than a few candidates run for office in states where they don’t have the strongest ties. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick, Republican Senate candidates from Pennsylvania, spent much of their daily lives before their campaigns in New Jersey and Connecticut, respectively, although Oz went to college and school of medicine in Pennsylvania and that McCormick grew up in the state and recently moved back.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL and congressman from Montana who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, never really stopped campaigning even after joining the Interior. He left the Trump administration after being embroiled in numerous scandals just a year after being named interior secretary.

A department investigation found he misled officials about his role at a nonprofit he and his wife used to try to secure a land deal with developers. The deal included the chairman of oil services company Halliburton, a company whose business activities would have fallen under the responsibility of the Interior.

The Justice Department has also launched an investigation into Zinke’s involvement in the Interior, denying a permit that would have allowed two indigenous tribes to expand their casino business – a move that has been met with opposition. lobbyists.

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