Monday, December 31, 2007

Congressional Bulk Mailings

Dump Bachmann has an interesting post up.

The Grand Forks Herald has the Minnesota connection.
Minnesotan's mail

Ex-U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy spent $152,000 in taxpayer-funded mailings last year, more than any other House member from Minnesota.

Kennedy, a Republican who lost to Democrat Amy Klobuchar in the 2006 Senate race, was 13th of all House members in mailing expenses. Three other Minnesota House members - Republicans Jim Ramstad and John Kline, and Democrat Jim Oberstar - were also among the top 100.

Some critics call the mailings a waste of taxpayer money, and a way to help incumbents cement their place in Congress by showcasing the members' accomplishments.

Kennedy was out of the country and unavailable for comment, a former campaign spokeswoman said. But the other three House members all defended use of the mailings - also known as franking.

Seventh District Congressman Democrat Collin Peterson spent $9,600 on mailings.

13th out of over 400! Good job Mark!

Now if he could just get his sign down in Buffalo. A year later, after he last used his office in Buffalo, his Congressional sign still stands near the intersection of Hwy 55 and Hwy 25, near the Pizza Hut.

1 comment:

Minnesota Central said...

A few obvious questions

“Has there been a change in Congressional mailings from year to year?”
If it was a practice (in other words, the Congressman always sent quarterly mailings for the past X years, … as taxpayers we may not like it, but at least it’s a consistent practice) however if it peaks during election years … or in Kennedy’s case, increased during the term that he was campaigning for Senate, then it stinks. Coleman sent one out after his first year, but I haven’t seen one since … and obviously, they should be sent to everyone … not just registered voters … or party members.

“With the advent of emails, why doesn’t Congress require that emails be used in preference to mailings?” I contacted Kennedy’s office early during the 109th Congress and requested to be put on the mailing list as I wanted to hear his views directly … but since I am in the First District, I never got anything. Gutknecht had a weekly email that he would send out to interested constituents … I used that to write many commentaries on my blog and issue follow-up questions to his staff.

Congress is never going to police (or restrict) themselves on this .. it helps the incumbent too much. They are now holding Tele-Town Hall meetings … Gutknecht did in 2006 and I believe that Kline has done it also … the problem is that it may not an open meeting, but just “interested” (or should I say, invited) constituents. Wait until 2010 when the redistricting happens … they’ll be out mailing every chance they get.

The other problem that I have is that they may be using marketing information to send different newsletters to different constituents. My rural route mailing address meant that I got Ag related news while people in Mankato got different mailings … clever.