The Pennsylvania Republican Senate nominee paid more than $250 for unexplained travel expenses in the Garden State in recent months after facing questions about similar expenses going back to February.
Financial disclosures filed by the campaign of Pennsylvania Senate Republican candidate Mehmet Oz show that it submitted expenses for travel in New Jersey in the third quarter of 2022.
Oz, who is running against Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman for the open Senate seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, has spent much of his campaign fending off questions about where he lives based on his ownership of properties in New Jersey. But his campaign spent $251.23 on gasoline at various New Jersey fuel stations in July and August.
The 11,456-page report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15, shows that the Oz campaign raised $7.8 million and spent $14.4 million on campaign expenses.
The report describes the expenses simply as "travel" and does not specify whether they were for travel by Oz or by a staff member or other personnel.
Two credit card charges, on July 7 and July 15, were made at a Shell Oil station near Princeton University.
In July, after the release of second-quarter filings by Oz's campaign, the Daily Beast reported that they had disclosed four purchases at that same Princeton Shell station. His campaign's first-quarter filings showed purchases at the station along with expenses for parking and dining in Princeton.
In total, the Oz campaign has spent at least $771.86 on gasoline in New Jersey to date.
The Oz campaign did not give an official response by the time of publication.
While Oz was reported to have said, "Legitimately, I own two houses" in response to a question about his real estate holdings, his campaign has disclosed that the candidate owns at least 12 properties, including a mansion in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. He voted from that address as recently as November 2020, according to the New Jersey Globe.
In December 2021, in an appearance on Fox News, Oz said that although he had recently changed his residency to the Keystone State after two decades of voting in New Jersey, he could still represent it in the Senate because he had studied there years before.
"I grew up just across the border, south of Philadelphia. I went to medical school at Penn in Philadelphia, I went to business school at Wharton in Philadelphia, I met and married my wife — which was the best thing I ever did — 36 years ago in Philadelphia, and I bore two children — or she bore them for me — in Philadelphia," he told host Sean Hannity. "I became [sic] home a year ago. It feels good to be back. I love the state and I will represent it honorably."
According to the Associated Press, Oz cast an absentee vote in Pennsylvania in 2021, claiming residency at a property his in-laws live in near Philadelphia.
He and his wife purchased a home in Pennsylvania nearby in February 2022. On Wednesday, however, ABC News reported that Oz's agreement to purchase the property included a provision guaranteeing the previous owner the right to buy back the property if Oz decides to sell it in the future.
"It is unheard of in the residential setting," real estate lawyer Bob Tintner told ABC. "It suggests to me that he's only here for a temporary period of time."
In July, Fetterman mocked Oz for recording a campaign spot at his Cliffside Park house, sharing photos from People magazine of the property.
"Pro: tip: don't film an ad for your PA senate campaign from your mansion in New Jersey," he tweeted.
Fetterman has also used social media to troll Oz over his residency, enlisting "Jersey Shore" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi to make a Cameo video saying: "Don't worry, because you'll be back home in Jersey soon. This is only temporary."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.