Larson campaign in rent dispute with landlord

Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, and a Capitol Hill landlord are in dispute over an $18,000 rent bill.

When Larson reached out  to potential campaign contributors to ask them for money, he liked to make those calls from a small office he rented since House ethics rules don’t allow campaigning in congressional offices.

Larson used that small office on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Library of Congress for a year to help raise money for both his personal campaign and his leadership PAC, called the Synergy PAC.  But Larson moved his operations out of that office several months ago.

Now his landlord says Larson owes him several months of back rent, and another year of advance rent under an “automatic renewal” clause in the rental contract because he did not give enough notice that he was moving out. The landlord, Dan Williams of Capitol Hill offices, said Larson’s campaigns owe him more than $18,000.

“We used this space for one year and we paid for one year’s rent on a timely basis,” said Leslie Kerman, assistant treasurer for the Synergy PAC.

She said Dan Williams’ claims “are just not a factual complaint.”

Nevertheless, Larson’s personal campaign and his Synergy PAC were required by the Federal Elections Commission to report the rent bill as unpaid debt.

The description the Larson’s campaign funds used for the entry is “Disputed debt…the Committee believes nothing is owed.”

Williams said the disputed rent money is owed.