'The Factor' Confronts Rep. Robert Wexler About Questionable Florida Residence

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: The top story tonight: one of the most liberal members of Congress, Robert Wexler of Florida, may not be a Floridian. Wexler represents the Palm Beach area, but has lived in Maryland since the late 1990s. He says his Florida address is a senior residence in Delray Beach. But that residence says kids can't live there for more than two months each year. Wexler has three teenagers. Producer Griff Jenkins caught up with Wexler at his Maryland home.


GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS PRODUCER: Good morning. Griff Jenkins from FOX News. Just a couple quick questions for you.

REP. ROBERT WEXLER, D-FLA.: No, I'm not doing this. If you want to call my office, that's fine. I've got to drive my daughter to work.

JENKINS: Two quick questions. It came to our attention that your primary residence in your disclosure format is in Florida in Delray.

WEXLER: That's correct. That's my residence.


WEXLER: Yes. I'll be happy to answer whatever question you wish…

JENKINS: It looks like you live here. And the house in Delray appears to be an active adult community, belongs to your mother-in-law? Is that true you live with your mother-in-law?

WEXLER: My in-laws own that house, that's correct. I'll be happy to...

JENKINS: So you live with your mother-in-law?

WEXLER: My in-laws own that house, yes. That's my official residence.

JENKINS: OK, so you don't live here?

WEXLER: I own this house along with my wife, yes, of course. And this is all disclosed to all public.


O'REILLY: Now, we invited Congressman Wexler on the program. He may appear Wednesday. Certainly want to hear his point of view, but there are many questions about tax payments, about congressional representation, about license tags on his car and on and on.

Joining us now from Los Angeles, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, author of the book "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy."

Now just to be clear, Wexler has set up to me, looks like a dodge, OK? His in-laws live in a senior residence. You can't live there with kids full time. You can't. It's against the rules. Wexler doesn't qualify to live there at all really, and he spends very little time there, as far as we know. Is this illegal?

JOHN FUND, WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST: No, I don't think so. There's no law that says that a member of Congress has to live in his congressional district, but he does have to maintain some residence in Florida. So he lists this residence, but it's not — certainly not with the letter of the law and probably not with the spirit of the law because, look, I think we should take pity on Congressman Wexler. I think his voters should take up a collection so he doesn't have to live with his mother-in-law.

O'REILLY: But he doesn't live with his mother-in-law. I want to be very clear about that.

FUND: That's his claim to…

O'REILLY: If I run for Congress in Ohio, OK, say I, O'Reilly, decide to run for Congress in Ohio. All I have to do is get an apartment there or have somebody else get an apartment in my name because Wexler's not paying the freight for the Delray Beach place. His mother-in-law is paying it. So what is it — you know, it doesn't look like he has any tie to Florida at all.

FUND: Except that he appears on the ballot there. And people keep sending him back to Congress.

O'REILLY: But that's OK?

FUND: If they knew about this, I think there would be some questions because most members of Congress live where they were elected. Some live in Washington, but they maintain a real residence back home.

O'REILLY: But you get money, Mr. Fund, to maintain a Washington residence, correct, if you're elected to Congress?

FUND: There's a housing deduction...

O'REILLY: Right.

FUND: ...in order to enable you to keep two homes: one in the district and one in Washington.

O'REILLY: OK, but the bottom line is Wexler doesn't have a Florida residence. He doesn't live in this house. So it's a ruse. Is it not a ruse?

FUND: It's a phantom residence because I doubt that he's really spending time sleeping on the couch at his mother-in-law's, yes, especially not with his three children.

O'REILLY: OK, so we established that, and it'd be interesting to see, you know, if Wexler would agree with this. Maybe he would. But it looks to me to be a ruse, OK? He's telling people he's a Floridian, but he's a Maryland guy.

All right. You say it's legal, you can do that based upon how he set it up. Now taxes, doesn't he have to pay taxes in both states if he has dual residency there? What does he do with taxes?

FUND: Members of Congress can choose to pay taxes either in the Washington area or in their home state.

O'REILLY: OK, so they have the choice. So he would pay it in Florida because Florida doesn't have a state tax and Maryland taxes like crazy.

FUND: And you have just identified one of the big reasons he has to have this phantom residence because that enables him to pay no Florida income tax.

O'REILLY: Right. So he pays...

FUND: Because there isn't one.

O'REILLY: ...state tax. There's no state tax in Florida. So basically what this guy has done is he's invested in a big house in Maryland. That's where he lives with his three children and his wife. And he had his mother-in-law set up this phantom place that some people, I guess, would think he lives in Delray, but he doesn't? That's what the bottom line is here?

FUND: Congressman Wexler clearly decided to move to Washington with his three children. He has a nice house in Potomac, which is a very tony suburb. He has an address of convenience in Delray Beach.

O'REILLY: All right. And then, we have to let the voters decide whether that is what they want in Florida or not. I think that's the fair thing. You let the voters down in Palm Beach decide.

FUND: I'll make a prediction that in the next few months Congressman Wexler might shop around for a little garden apartment in Delray Beach that he could call his own and it will really be his own.

O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Fund, thanks very much. And again, if Congressman Wexler has anything to say, he can say it tomorrow.

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