WASHINGTON — One of the richest members of Congress has not paid a $122 annual registration and parking fee for his 2005 Ford Escape hybrid to the District of Columbia government for the last two years.
Jared Polis (D-Colo.), whose personal wealth was worth an estimated $143.2 million in 2010, no longer pays a $72 annual fee to register his light SUV truck or $50 to park without restriction in the District. He would have had to pay those charges to obtain a parking permit before his neighborhood zone sticker expired in October 2010.
Coughing up $122 a year might sound like chump change for a congressman whom The Washington Post listed this year as the sixth wealthiest member of the House and Senate, but Polis spends the money from his technology and business fortune on other things.
“He had one (a parking permit) sticker at his old apartment when he needed to park on the street but his current apartment offers parking,” Polis spokesman Chris Fitzgerald wrote via email. He added that Polis is a Colorado resident who registers his car in the Centennial State.
D.C. law does not require residents, or even part-timers like most members of Congress, to register their vehicles and buy a parking permit, but it restricts their activities. For example, vehicles without a residential parking permit or zone sticker cannot park for more than two hours “on a block designated for residential permit holders,” according to D.C.’s Department of Motor Vehicles website.
On most weekdays and weekends, Polis’ royal blue Ford Escape hybrid sits on an inclined parking space between the Cannon and Longworth House office buildings. On rare occasions, it is parked two blocks southeast of the Capitol on New Jersey Avenue, down the road from the Democratic National Committee. His vehicle there is subject to District law.
Fitzgerald suggested the congressman has yet to park in District streets designated for residential permit holders for more than the permitted two hours.
But Polis’ vehicle has a zone sticker that expired on October 2, 2010, an apparent violation of city law. The District’s DMV website tells readers that “(y)ou must remove all outdated/expired RPP stickers from your vehicle’s windshield.” Polis’ spokesman, Fitzgerald, did not give a reason for the presence of the outdated sticker on his light SUV.
Why has Polis been allowed to keep an expired tag on his vehicle for more than 26 months?
Shennell S. Antrobus, a spokesman for the United States Capitol Police, said that “(c)ity parking issues are handled by MPD and the District parking enforcement.” He declined to elaborate. A District DMV spokeswoman was not available for comment.