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Denny Rehberg Sleeps At the Tune Inn?

From glancing at his latest campaign financial disclosure report, it looks as if Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) has finally hit rock bottom. Because according to the report, Rehberg, a multi-millionaire who sleeps on the sofa in his congressional office and showers in the House gym, spent a cold February night at the Tune Inn, which, while it offers plenty of cheap draft beer and greasy food, doesn't rent rooms -- not even by the hour.

Rehberg's reelection campaign report lists a nearly $300 expenditure on Feb. 25 for "lodging" at the Tune Inn, a storied dive bar on Capitol Hill whose walls are covered with mounted deer heads (and even a few deer butts) and plenty of late-night lore from years gone by.

An inn, the Tune Inn is not. But we called just to be sure they didn't have rooms hidden away some place. Bartender Matt Manley assured us the bar does not offer any type of lodging, at least not really.

"There's a cot in the basement," Manley explained. "But usually people just pass out on it."

We had to wonder if Rehberg helped himself to the cot given his past cavorting on codel trips. (In Kazakhstan in 2004, Rehberg had several shots of vodka before he fell off a horse, got trampled on by another and broke at least one rib.) But it did seem an odd place to sleep given his tremendous personal wealth -- he's the 11th richest member of the House, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

As Kevin O'Brien, spokesman for the Montana Democratic Party said, "You'd think being worth $50 million bucks and making $170 grand a year, a guy could find somewhere other than a saloon to sleep." (Rehberg faces a stiff challenge this year from a retired U.S. Army National Guard lieutenant colonel.)

But Rehberg spokesman Bridger Pierce says the congressman didn't sleep on the cot at the Tune Inn, or in a booth, or anywhere else there. The campaign just mistakenly listed the Feb. 25 Tune Inn expenditure under "lodging" instead of "food," Pierce explained. He described the event as a "volunteer appreciation/campaign meeting," (not a "voter appreciation meeting" as we incorrectly reported earlier).

All we know is: it must have been a pretty big group, and they must have been really thirsty and hungry. Because racking up a $300 tab at the Tune Inn takes serious effort. A cheeseburger costs $7.00 and a Busch draft beer goes for $3.50 -- so, do the math.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 23, 2008; 3:35 PM ET
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