JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has rented an apartment in Jefferson City in response to suggestions from Democrats that he was violating state law by commuting to the capital city for work.
Hawley told St. Louis Public Radio Thursday that he will live in the two-bedroom apartment in Jefferson City as much as necessary to make it a legal residence but his primary residence will remain his home near Ashland.
Democrats had raised the issue after Hawley, a Republican, took office in January. They contended a state law that says the attorney general “shall reside at the seat of government” meant Hawley should live in Jefferson City.
Hawley said he and his legal team believe the law requires him only to have an office in Jefferson City. A legal analysis from Deputy Attorney General Michael Martinich-Sauter said Hawley is complying with the law because his home is within “ordinary commuting distance” about a 20-minute drive of Jefferson City, much like state employees who commute to work.
The attorney general said Democrats had raised a “sideshow issue” to distract from more important issues, but said he decided to “call the Democrats’ bluff” by renting the apartment, which he said is large enough for his wife and two children to stay in.
“I will stay there as necessary to make it (a residence) for legal purposes,” Hawley said.
After the issue was raised, Republicans filed legislation aimed at removing the residency requirement from state law.
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