Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D., Ariz.) violated House of Representatives rules by having one of his district offices outside his district.
O'Halleran's Tucson office sits half a mile outside of Arizona's 1st Congressional District, despite the district's sprawling 58,000 square miles, the Arizona Republic reports. It, in fact, sits in Rep. Martha McSally's (R., Ariz.) adjacent district.
O'Halleran said he was unaware the office was outside his district until a couple weeks ago, and blamed the placement of the office on high rent costs in the portion of Tucson he represents. The congressman's predecessor, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D.), had free office space in Marana, Arizona City Hall, but O'Halleran said the space would no longer have been free for him.
"We went and looked for weeks and weeks for an office in Oro Valley and found out that the minimum rents for something there were about $1,200," O'Halleran said. "This office was available for $400."
"I have to be very frugal with our costs," he said.
In a letter to the House Administration Committee, McSally gave O'Halleran permission to have the office in her district. McSally's agreement now provides one of the permissible exceptions to the House rule.
"It is my understanding that Congressman Tom O'Halleran would like to continue to operate a district office … in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District. I give my approval for this request," she wrote.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jack Pandol, however, blasted O'Halleran for not placing the office in his own district.
"Congressman O’Halleran may be from Chicago, but his constituents live across rural Arizona, and they need his help," Pandol said. "All his excuses can’t hide the fact he violated House rules, and more importantly: he’s simply not doing his job."