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Congressman Bergman pushes back against renewed accusations about his residency

United States Congress

Congressman Jack Bergman is pushing back against a lawsuit which accuses him of incorrectly claiming permanent residence in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

A lawsuit filed in Gogebic County Circuit Court last month demands that the State Treasurer's Office conduct an audit of Bergman’s utilities in order to determine primary residence.

Congressman Bergman faced similar accusations about his residency in 2016 from then-Democratic Candidate Lon Johnson.

Robert Anderson is an attorney on the case. He claims that Bergman spends less time in Michigan than in Louisiana and that an audit of Bergman’s utilities would prove that.

“Jack Bergman our congressman has acknowledged that they have a home in Fayetteville, Louisiana that they go to.”

Anderson argues Bergman doesn’t spend enough time in Michigan to claim the primary residence tax exemption.

“And so this part-time use that he has for his summer cottage certainly cannot qualify as a primary residence for getting this tax break.”

Officials with the Department of Treasury said they could not comment on pending litigation but they pointed to the state’s guidelines for primary residence which state that “a temporary absence from Michigan, such as spending the winter in another state, does not make you a part-year resident.”

Treasury officials also say their guidelines generally don’t include an exact amount of days required to live in the state in order to claim primary residency.

Anderson argues those guidelines are superseded by a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling which took utility usage into account.

In a written statement Congressman Bergman called the suit “campaign shenanigans.”

You can read his full statement below:

“I have no problem with anyone shining a light on all my activities. I am perfectly happy to stand in the spotlight. For anyone to impugn my integrity, it’s deceitful and shame on them. We know better than that in this country. I got a letter from the Gogebic County treasury, and they sent me a letter back that said, ‘We have reviewed all your material, and you’re valid.’ So, as far as Gogebic County goes, I met their 30-day guideline. This is campaign shenanigans, I am an elected representative of the 1st District in Michigan and my home base is here.”