I should preface this article with a couple of important items. First, I challenged U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions in the 2010 Republican Primary, an era when even the local Tea Party leadership still thought Pete's record was palatable. Second, I am supporting neither candidate in this year's Republican Primary as I believe one to be a horrible Congressman and the other to be grossly under-qualified for the position.
I have been commenting on both candidates as I see deep flaws with each. This article is a continuation of that practice and is directed at the Congressman. Rep. Sessions has been accused of living in "a dilapidated apartment" and some of his supporters claim no evidence of this exists.
Well, being that the Congressman moved in across the parking lot from me at The Village Apartments, I can, indeed, confirm that the Congressman resides in an apartment so far as his voter registration is concerned.
However, when I went scouring my Facebook account and my smart phone I was unable to find the photos on either. And while I determined that I snapped the photos before acquiring my smart phone, that still doesn't explain why the photos are no longer on my Facebook account. I'll take that up with Mark Zuckerburg tomorrow--perhaps a case of NSA spying gone awry?
This issue, in my opinion, is really a stupid point to be spending so much time on. So I believe that supporters of challenger Katrina Pierson should begin preparing themselves for the likely defeat of their darling in the upcoming primary. If a nearly 20-year record cannot provide enough information for her supporters and campaign to take offense to and they must instead concentrate on a divorced man's address of residence, I'm sorry--that does not bode well.
Further, there has been a significant amount of intellectual dishonesty or downright ineptitude displayed by supporters of both candidates. And if there is one thing that really gets under my skin it is intellectual dishonesty. So let's clarify a few things.
First, Sessions' first wife divorced him in 2011 following rumors of infidelity on the part of the Congressman with multiple women outside their marriage. I went on the record as stating at the time, "I wouldn't wish divorce on my worst enemy much less my sitting Congressman. Rep. Sessions has enough trouble doing his job effectively without this to contend with. My best wishes to the Congressman going forward." Something to that effect. Not terribly supportive of him politically or personally, but recognizing that I did not want one of my elected officials to be dealing with such distractions but instead seeking to be effective elected officials.
Following their split-up, their $1.3 million home near White Rock Lake went on the blocks so the Congressman needed a new residence. He selected The Corners East apartments in The Village. I know this because he quite literally moved in directly across the parking lot from my apartment. In fact you can see his bedroom window from my front door.
I was able to confirm this with security personnel with the community. And then I went about steering clear of the Congressman. He obviously didn't move in knowing that I lived there. And he obviously would not have had he known I did. And I figured that he didn't want to deal with me or come home to me sitting on his doorstep, taking exception to his duties as Congressman.
He followed all of this up by marrying a former Congressional candidate from Florida whom he had supported while Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Now, let's finish up with the apartment first. This is a non-issue. Period. I lived in an apartment when I challenged the Congressman. Big deal. Are Republicans seriously going to make the point that one must live in a $1.3 million home to represent a district in Congress?
Now, is there an issue here? There certainly is. And the fact that nobody has answered my question yet is a bit concerning. Because if there is no issue in the following matter then there is a very simple answer to a very relevant question and that's all there is to it. Open, shut, over and out.
But Sessions' Campaign Manager and former Dallas County Republican Party Executive Director Kim Locus has thus far refused to provide an answer to this. Mrs. Locus is a friend of mine, so I'm being very patient. But I'm reasonably certain Pierson's supporters won't extend my political friend the same courtesy.
The question here is, has Rep. Sessions taken any trips to Florida since 2009? Pete became Chair of the NRCC for the 2009-2010 term which included the 2010 Primaries. In addition to facing a challenge from me in his home district, he also met his future second wife, Karen Diebel, whom he subsequently married in mid-2012.
Trips taken to Florida during his two terms as NRCC Chairman during the 2009-2010 term and 2011-2012 term would have necessarily been paid for by NRCC funds. Although I'm sure he would also have to justify his schedule and support for Florida Congressional candidates for such trips--no trips to see his new friend and now second wife on NRCC funds.
The truly interesting situation would be the 2013 calendar year. Has Pete been to Florida in the last 13 months? And if so, who paid for his travel?
Congressmen are able to have travel between Washington, D.C. and their home districts reimbursed by taxpayers as official travel. Private plane travel, likewise, may be reimbursed at a similar rate but only between D.C. and the Congressman's home district. And Florida doesn't count in that regard.
Has Pete taken trips to Florida? Apparently so--he has a photograph accepting a jersey from the Orlando Magic with the name 'Sessions' and the number 32 on it. Who has paid for these trips? Has Pete, who likely now has alimony payments to his ex-wife of 28 years? Not to mention having to maintain residences in both D.C. and Dallas. That stretches even a $170,000 salary pretty thin given that places him in the top tax bracket to begin with--40% right off the top!
But let's drop the issue of his residence in Dallas. Yes, he lives in one of the finest apartment communities in the nation. Lincoln Property Company maintains The Village--it's flagship community--immaculately. The Village routinely is named the top multi-family community in the nation. It's landscaping--maintained with private funds--provide the model for the City of Dallas for communities like Oak Cliff as the City attempts to turn the corner in attracting private development to the southern sector (in my opinion).
Perhaps not the prototypical property one would expect to find a Congressman in. But if this is all the challenger has--given all of the things I mentioned in my own campaign just a few short years ago--she'd better pack it in and withdraw. This is childish.
How I discovered the Congressman had moved in?
You can stop reading here unless you want a funny aside. The following is irrelevant to the current challenger's efforts but uproariously funny when considering that a sitting Congressman moved into an apartment complex across the parking lot from his former challenger!
The Village maintains the original Village Country Club facilities in the center of the development including a workout center for residents' use. I'm walking back to my apartment from the gym one night in approximately mid-2011, just after the Congressman's divorce was announced. White Rock Lake house went on the market, Pete had to find a new place. Where else does a single man in Dallas go looking? Plenty of "action" at The Village, so that's where he went.
I see a unique license plate on a typical pickup truck in the parking lot one evening: CD 32. "Not too many of those around," I think to myself! And they don't just issue those to wives, girlfriends or lovers. I'm thinking worst-case scenario: "Pete's visiting his girlfriend--getting some nookie!"
Well, obviously I wasn't too far off in that analysis, given his divorce and rumors of his multiple infidelities. But it turned out this was just his new home in the District.
I snapped a couple photos of the license plate, the truck and the truck with the apartments in the background. I also snapped a few photos in subsequent months when I noticed the truck around, just to show that the Congressman was coming and going. Passed the Congressman's truck coming and going a time or two.
The night I discovered my new neighbor I actually almost ran into Pete--literally. I'm walking back to my apartment after snapping a few photos and pass his breezeway as he is exiting his new apartment. He drops his keys facing away from me and bends over to pick them up as I pass, otherwise we most likely would have made eye contact and seen one another.
Folks, this is really funny. As the saying goes, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!
But if a campaign is relying on this to run on it had better grow up quick--this isn't effective campaign fodder. Political humor? Sure. Stand-up comedy? Absolutely.
Zero campaign-worthiness whatsoever.