Kevin McCarthy admits he rented room from GOP pollster Frank Luntz


House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) poses with pollster Frank Luntz on the podium within the Quicken Loans Arena on the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday, July 19, 2016.

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the highest Republican within the House, admitted Tuesday that he rented a room for “a couple of months” from GOP pollster and corporate advisor Frank Luntz.

But McCarthy, throughout an look on Fox News, denied there was any battle of curiosity in sharing a house together with his longtime pal Luntz, a commucations consultant for Republican causes and corporations.

McCarthy’s chuckling affirmation got here a day after outraged Fox News host Tucker Carlson first reported the California Republican’s curious dwelling association with Luntz in downtown Washington. McCarthy advised Fox News he paid “fair market rate” for the room to Luntz.

Records reviewed by CNBC point out that Luntz purchased that three-bedroom, 3½-bath, 1,740 square-foot penthouse house in 2018 for greater than $1 million.

The pad boasts “Italian appliances” and a “rooftop patio,” in accordance an actual property website.

Carlson had expressed wide-eyed astonishment Monday evening that Luntz — who has been a verbal goal of his just lately — was appearing as McCarthy’s landlord.

Carlson’s ire stems from his perception that Luntz is “effectively a Democrat” — whom Carlson says additionally successfully “lobbies on behalf of some of the world’s most left-wing corporations” — whereas having the ear of “the leadership of the Republican Party.”

“His views, make no mistake, bear no resemblance by any means to the views of actual Republican voters,” Carlson fumed on his present.

Carlson started teeing off on Luntz final week after the pollster was quoted by Axios as saying “Republicans are more pro-immigrant than elites realize.”

Carlson mentioned on his present he was tipped off to McCarthy staying with Luntz, however that McCarthy’s spokeswoman all however chuckled in first denying the tip Monday morning.

She mentioned McCarthy both slept on his workplace sofa or rented resort rooms when in Washington, in line with Carlson.

But that spokeswoman two hours later confirmed the tip in a textual content to Carlson’s present, saying, “Because of the [coronavirus] pandemic, McCarthy has rented a room in Washington at a fair market price from Frank.”

Carlson confirmed the message on his present after which mentioned, “Now you know why they listen to Frank Luntz and not you.”

When Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy requested McCarthy on Tuesday morning about staying with Luntz — “What’s up with that?” — the lawmaker smiled.

“I didn’t know how this was controversial,” McCarthy mentioned.

“Frank has been a friend of mine for more than 30 years.”

McCarthy then chalked up his use of Luntz’s residence to Democrats altering round workplaces within the House of Representatives — to not the Covid-19 pandemic, as his spokeswoman advised Carlson.

“As Democrats took over they started changing the House around,” McCarthy advised Doocy.

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Democrats received majority management within the House two years in the past. So it isn’t clear how a reconfiguration of workplaces then led to McCarthy stick with Luntz extra just lately.

“Yeah, I rented a room from Frank for a couple of months, but don’t worry, I’m going back to where I am normally … back to the couch in my office,” McCarthy advised Doocy.

“We paid far-market rent,” McCarthy mentioned.

CNBC has reached out to McCarthy’s workplace to ask how lengthy precisely he stayed with Luntz, and what charge he paid the pollster.

“Frank’s not a lobbyist, Frank’s a friend,” McCarthy advised Doocy when the Fox News host identified Carlson’s criticisms. “I don’t see that there’s any problem there along that line.”

Luntz, a frequent visitor on CNBC, didn’t instantly return a request for remark.

— Additional reporting by CNBC’s Brian Schwartz and Christina Wilkie

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