Why does a defeated member of the US House of Representatives clear out her Washington office but leave behind her car in its parking space, like a piece of junk she couldn’t be bothered with taking?
This was a question for ex-congresswoman Melissa Hart, R-Pa, who after being defeated for re-election in 2006, then re-running in 2008 and being defeated again, left her “junker” VW Jetta right where she always had, in a $250 a month tax payer subsidized parking space, six feet from the building stairwell. After 48 months in what essentially was storage space, Hart stuck it to taxpayers for $12,000.
When after four years sitting collecting dust and cobwebs, and still showing its George W. Bush for President bumper sticker, and dust scrawls from passerbys (one said, I wish my wife was this dirty), someone thought it a good idea to place a few calls to Ms Hart law office in Pittsburgh– but all for naught. The now private attorney wasn’t talking
Finally, ABC News got wind of the story and got Hart’s side of it. She didn’t want the car anymore, she said. She just used it to schlep around DC. So she left it, with the belief that members of congress had unlimited use of their parking space, even after leaving office. She also said she had planned to donate the car to charity but never got around to it. What she expected would happen to her car over time after forgetting that charity donation is open to the imagination. And apparently the month-after-month, year- after- year ka-chinging of taxpayers was forgettable too. You have to love these republicans.
What Hart claimed not to know was that members can leave their cars in the House parking garage ONLY if they are no longer connected to a lobbying firm. Hart said she didn’t know this. After being defeated in 2006, she went to work for Kevican, Weiss, Baurie & Hirsh, a Pittsburgh law firm dealing in government relations, a registered lobbying group with strong interests in conservative causes. Leaving her junker car during that time was in total violation of House rules. After refusing to take calls about the car, and only after ABC News embarrassed her by asking questions did Hart come up with her phony rules ignorance.