Policy

Airbnb Listing Spells Trouble for Wisconsin Republican

Frank Lasee faces residency questions in 8th District open-seat race

Republican candidate Frank Lasee faces questions about whether he lives in the district of Rep. Reid Ribble, left, who is retiring, or Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who isn't. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)

Note to congressional hopefuls: If you are trying to prove residency in a district, it might not be a good idea to advertise that residence on Airbnb.  

Especially if you also own a much nicer house in a district that would force you to run against a crazy popular incumbent like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan .  

Case in point: Wisconsin Republican Frank Lasee is facing questions  in his home state about whether he actually lives in the two-bedroom, "luxury apartment," he was advertising for rent until recently for $210 a night on Airbnb.com, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday.   

Lasee, a state senator, is one of two candidates vying for Republican Rep. Reid Ribble's soon-to-be vacant 8th District seat in an election expected to favor the GOP nominee . His wife own a home in Racine — in Ryan's home district — assessed at $262,000, the paper reported.  

[Related: Ribble Retirment Creates Vulnerable GOP Open Seat] Reporters at the Journal Sentinel thought the arrangement was curious enough that they tried to book Lasee's apartment for one day last month, prompting a reply from Lasee's wife, Amy Joy Lasee, who wanted to know who they were and why they wanted the apartment, the paper reported. She then denied the request.  

Not long after that, local conservative talk radio host Jerry Bader brought up the listing , noting that the available dates had recently been limited to weekends of Green Bay Packers home games.  

"Your story is hard to swallow," Bader said, addressing the senator.  

Then the listing disappeared.  

Lasee at first declined to explain to Journal Sentinel reporters why the couple removed the listing. "Because we wanted to," he told the paper. He then said they didn't want "everyone in the world looking at it."  

He went on to say he had a "crazy living arrangement," in which he lived most of the time at the apartment but occasionally stayed at the Racine house.  

Lasee said Democrats had filed a complaint about his residence with the state Government Accountability Board during a previous election, and the board had dismissed the complaint after he produced a 2011 lease — which, the paper pointed out, said that Lasee and his wife were occupants of the apartment and they were not allowed to sublease without the owners' consent.  

[Related: State Senator Likely to Run for Wisconsin Senate] Lasee also speculated in the interview that backers of his primary opponent were the ones bringing up the issue this time.  

"It's a campaign issue," he told the paper.  

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