Heller office drama coming to an end

The drama surrounding Sen. Dean Heller’s office suite may be coming to an end.

Sources confirmed a report in Roll Call tonight that Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, has put in a claim for Heller’s row of office rooms on the third floor of the Russell Building, across the street from the Capitol.

As is Senate practice, Moran’s claim bumps the more junior Heller from the suite he inherited when he became senator in May 2011, and will set him on a search for new digs in the Senate complex.

It also capped a trying week for Heller, which began when Roll Call reported Monday that his staff was using bullying tactics to try to keep the senator and his team in the suite, which features a sizable and nicely appointed personal office for the boss.

It was reported that several complaints were filed with the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration about the behavior of Heller’s staff. Roll Call reported chief of staff Mac Abrams promised aides to Georgia GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss in January that Heller would make a $10,000 campaign donation if Chambliss would take a pass on the office.

The Heller story became the talk of Senate lunchrooms this past week, and the Nevada Democratic Party took delight in broadcasting it and how it was being received in the Nevada media.

Interviewed midweek, Heller sought to dismiss the controversy, saying he always understood he would be needing to relocate. He said Abrams’ remarks were made as a joke even if they were not received as such, and he had “admonished” his chief of staff.

Heller maintained he was unaware of complaints being made to the Senate’s housekeeping committee, which could not be independently confirmed.

As it turns out, Moran outranks Heller by five months in Senate seniority. He began service in January 2011. Both became senators after serving as House members, each beginning in 2007.

It was unclear when Heller would be relocating, a move that will include taking down the trophy elk that he shot in Lincoln County and that hangs behind his desk. His staff was scheduled for April 8 to shop among available space in the three Senate office buildings.