Bob Dold's Residency Problem: 'Lifelong Resident' Of IL-10 Was Gone For 20 Years
Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk, who represents Illinois's 10th District in Congress, saw his lead over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias erased after a resume-inflation scandal broke this summer. Kirk claimed to have won an award that doesn't exist, commanded the Pentagon War Room and taken fire over Iraq when he actually did not.
Now, the Republican running to replace him in the Tenth has an exaggeration problem of his own, albeit of a less high-flying nature.
"I've lived in this district my entire life, and I'm raising my kids here too," narrates candidate Bob Dold in a campaign video. (Watch the video below.)
Trouble is, that first bit isn't quite true. As one blogger has dutifully reported, Dold has spent almost all of his adult life outside of the district.
Ellen Beth Gill, writer of the "Ellen of the Tenth" blog, was a persistent gadfly during the Kirk military resume scandal, regularly posting new research and pushing new angles of the story. Now, she's turned her attention to Dold and his claims of longtime residency in her home district.
The YouTube clip isn't the only place Dold says he has spent his whole life in the 10th. On his Facebook page, he describes himself as a "lifelong resident of the District," and endorsements from supporters Dave Stolman and Renee Thaler on the Dold for Congress website also say Dold is a "lifelong resident of the 10th".
And public records show Dold has voted consistently in Wilmette, a suburb in the 10th, which means by law that he had to reside in the district 30 days before each election.
But Dold's own biography makes it clear this isn't true. The candidate went to college in Ohio, where he graduated from Denison University in 1991. Thereafter, he spent two years in Washington, D.C. working for the George H.W. Bush administration. From 1993 to 1996, Dold was at law school in Indiana; he then worked until 1999 as an investigative counsel for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, again in Washington.
Dold then came back to Chicagoland to study for an M.B.A. at Northwestern, which he completed in 2000. He worked at Exodus Communications in Oak Brook, Ill. through 2003.
And as Ellen of the Tenth reports, Dold didn't move back into his home district until 2007, after 20 straight years of absence.
Instead, while working in Oak Brook, he and his wife owned a home in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. According to documents unearthed by Gill's blog, they received a property tax exemption on that home in multiple years that would require the Dolds to use it as their primary residence.
They sold the home in January of 2007 and apparently moved back into the district around that time, taking up residency in a home owned by Dold's parents in Kenilworth.
Thus, fewer than three years of Dold's adult life have been spent living in the district.
The Chicago Sun-Times has picked up on the story, learning that the county is starting to worry about the legality of Dold's voting habits:
When this apparent discrepancy was called to Cook County Clerk David Orr's attention Tuesday, his office called the Cook County State's Attorney's office to turn over the information.
"When things like this are brought to our attention, we take it very seriously and we forward it to States Attorney's office for review," said Orr spokeswoman Courtney Greve.
Meanwhile, the Dold campaign steadfastly refused to comment on the matter, issuing only a brief and nondescript statement.
"Bob and his wife's decision to temporarily move to the city does not change his permanent residence," the statement reads.
Spending 20 years in Washington, Chicago, Ohio and Indiana hardly seems like a "temporary move" to "the city." But Kelly Klopp, the campaign's communications director, would not say more on the subject when pressed for details.
Dold is currently in a hotly contested and closely watched race with Democrat Dan Seals for the 10th Congressional seat.
Watch Dold discuss his lifelong residency in the 10th District here: