The most senior Republican in the House was facing fresh questions about his living accommodations on Tuesday night, as it appeared he had possibly broken a House ethics rule, or violated Washington DC housing regulations.
Kevin McCarthy has insisted he did nothing wrong in renting a room from GOP pollster Frank Luntz, a friend of his for 30 years.
On Tucker Carlson’s show Tuesday, it emerged that Luntz’s 7,000-square-foot penthouse, with 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, could not, under DC building regulations, be rented out room-by-room.
McCarthy suggested that, thanks to Democrats running the House, and tighter COVID rules, he was forced from his office couch, where he usually sleeps, to a Luntz-owned apartment in D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood downtown.
A spokesman for the 56-year-old California representative told Carlson: ‘Because of the pandemic, McCarthy has rented a room in Washington at a fair market price from Frank.’
Yet on Tuesday it emerged on Carlson’s show that under DC rules, McCarthy would have to rent the entire property, which analysts told Fox News would be worth $25,000 a month.
If he did not pay that, he would be judged under House ethics rules to be receiving a gift – something which is not permitted.
Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night continued asking questions about McCarthy’s situation
According to online records, Luntz is the registered owner of four apartments in this Penn Quarter building, which The Washington Post said had been combined to create a penthouse
Carlson has for the past week been insisting that senior Republicans were disconnected from their supporters partly because they listen to ‘conventional liberals’ like Luntz, whom he accused of serving ‘left-wing corporations’.
According to online property records, Luntz is a registered owner of four apartments in the building.
The Washington Post reported that the four had been combined to create the luxurious penthouse, where the property management fees alone on the units are $4,976 per month, according to Redfin.com.
Luntz, 59, runs a Republican polling and communications company, but in January declared that he no longer felt able to call himself a Republican.
His stance has enraged Carlson, with the Fox News host blaming Luntz for driving a wedge between Republican voters and their leaders.
It is unclear why Carlson is attacking McCarthy.
McCarthy is playing a key role in the moves to oust Wyoming Senator Liz Cheney from her coveted party leadership role, in retaliation for her voting to impeach Donald Trump.
McCarthy is renting a D.C. apartment from high-profile GOP pollster Frank Luntz (pictured), who has been accused by Tucker Carlson of lobbying on behalf of ‘liberal’ causes
Frank Luntz (right) and Kevin McCarthy (left) with Tony Blair in September at the White House
Last week Carlson revealed that McCarthy was living at Luntz’s home.
Some members of Congress rent or buy property in Washington, D.C., for when the body is in session, while others – like McCarthy previously did – sleep on their office couches.
Most avoid staying with friends out of concern for ethics rules forbidding the acceptance of gifts.
Carlson said that Luntz, who is not a registered lobbyist, ‘lobbies on behalf of the world’s most left-wing companies,’ citing Google, Nike and Delta airlines.
He said he was ‘effectively a Democrat’.
‘He also advises the leadership of the Republican Party.
‘In real life, his views bear no resemblance whatsoever to the views of actual Republican voters.
‘So the question is – how did someone like this wind up with so much influence in the Republican Party? Why do they listen to someone like Frank Luntz, rather than their own voters?’
Carlson said that Luntz was ‘effectively a Democrat’, who was advising Republican leaders
Carlson said that Luntz works for companies that oppose the Republican Party.
Carlson said that the Republican leaders’ affiliation with Luntz is partly due to his being ‘particularly close’ to McCarthy, who Luntz described as ‘a personal friend’.
‘So Luntz is the personal friend of the top-ranking Republican in the House.
‘Turns out, we didn’t know half of it.
‘Not only are they personal friends – they are room mates. Kevin McCarthy lives in Frank Luntz’s apartment in downtown Washington DC.’
McCarthy, who married his high school sweetheart, Judy, still lives in the first house they bought together in Bakersfield, California.
The home is where they raised their two children, Connor and Meghan.
McCarthy’s arrangement in Washington appears unusual, but his spokesman said he paid the going rate, to avoid conflict-of-interest charges.
Carlson added: ‘The top Republican in the House lives with a Google lobbyist? Come on.
‘Even by the sleazy and corrupt standards of politics in Washington, that didn’t seem possible. In fact, it sounded like a joke.’
He said that McCarthy’s spokesman had laughed at the suggestion that he lived with Luntz – before ringing back to confirm it was true.
Carlson has been taking aim at the veteran GOP pollster after Axios quoted him last week as saying that ‘Republicans are more pro-immigrant than elites realize.’
Luntz said he conducted focus groups of prospective voters and that he came away with the impression that the gaps between Democrats and Republicans on hot-button issues like immigration and border security aren’t as wide as thought.
Carlson has also ridiculed Luntz for suggesting that Republicans support granting permanent legal status to Dreamers, or undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as young children.
McCarthy and his wife Judy are pictured at a state dinner for Emmanuel Macron of France
The Fox News host attacked Luntz for suggesting that ‘Republican voters, in fact, are dying to give amnesty to as many foreign nationals as they possibly can.’
Carlson said sarcastically: ‘They’re demanding it right away!’
He then played a clip of an interview with Luntz in which the pollster says that Trump supporters are in favor of providing a ‘path to citizenship’ to the Dreamers.
Carlson accused Luntz of taking the same position on immigration as that of Google, and that his views were applauded by ‘open borders activists.’
Luntz has been ‘toadying for big corporations’ like Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, which has been blamed for helping fuel the opioid epidemic.
Last year, Luntz revealed that Biden ‘came over to me and gave me the biggest hug’ after he learned that the pollster suffered a stroke while conducting a focus group in New Hampshire in January of last year.
‘Joe Biden is a kind man,’ Luntz told MSNBC in October.
‘He’s a decent man. He’s been through hell himself, on several occasions.’