Is Rep. Marion Berry (AR-01) hiding income from his constituents?

Rep Marion Berry (AR-01) is playing financial disclosure games again:

Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) appears to have understated by hundreds of thousands of dollars the value of his Capitol Hill rowhouse on his annual financial disclosure forms.

In May, Berry filed a financial disclosure form reporting the value of the house at between $250,000 and $500,000, the same value that he has listed on his disclosure forms each year.

But according to District of Columbia tax records, the current assessed value of the house is $947,080, and the proposed 2010 assessment value is $864,970, reflecting the drop in Capitol Hill property values.

As you already know, the man’s been in Congress since 1997, which is certainly enough time to learn that ethics rules require that Congressmen are expected to not hide their actual net worth: the article goes on to point out that Berry reported his house’s value as being within a range, which is specifically prohibited. Also, Berry rents out the residence for income, which means that he was really supposed to report its full value. I’d say that this was a case of Beltway Disease, except that he has a history that apparently predates his moving to Washington, DC.

When I asked the Rick Crawford campaign – he’s the local businessman and veteran recruited by the NRCC to run in this race – for any commentary, I got back this:

  • From Rick Crawford: “It is unfortunate that this has happened and has distracted from the business of the First Congressional District,” said Crawford. “Too often politicians get to Washington and lost touch with the people back home.”
  • From Doyle Webb (Arkansas GOP Chairman): ”It’s upsetting to see another misleading act come out of the Beltway. If a Washington insider like Marion Berry can continue to mislead his constituents on things as simple as this, what can we expect from him on issues that are critical to Arkansas families here at home?”

Sounds about right to me.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.