Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brian Davis on Franking Privileges

Yesterday morning, before a round of golf, I caught CD 1 GOP Congressional Candidate Brian Davis on Between the Lines with Al Travis.

Many issues were discussed during the interview.

Travis asked Davis about the fundraising disparity between Congressman Walz and candidates Davis and Day.

9:00 into the video:

Davis: "Money doesn't buy elections. Ah, it does buy media coverage. But you know what, also, its a reflection on the fact that there is a lot of money coming outside, coming from outside of Minnesota and outside of the First District, to buy this seat.

"This seat is not for sale, they can see through a lot of this".

Take a look at Davis' FEC reports. In his 2007 Year End Report, about 25% of contributions for Davis for Congress came within the 1st CD. More than 50% of contributions came from outside of Minnesota.

In the most recent FEC report, Davis had a grand total of 3 contributors from the 1st CD, less than 19%.

The rhetoric from Davis falls short here.

The vast majority of Davis' contributions have come from outside the 1st CD and Minnesota.

10:30 into video:

Travis: I use mail envy, here...I got the Brian Davis flyer sent to my house, I'm a First District guy. But you're being outmailed my friend.

Davis: That's true, that's true you know, but you know where that mail comes from? That mail comes from the US taxpayers, its something a Congressman gets, its called a franking privilege. And that's hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think one of the first things I want to do when I get to Congress is to reevaluate that. Is that a wise use of taxpayer dollars? It comes across as though its public service but you know you see a lot of pictures of the person who is running. I'm not just saying its the current Congressman in our district, it happens all across the country. But is that a wise use of taxpayer dollars? I'm not sure about that.

Travis: So, you plan is to go up against the mailings, the million dollars, I mean, how do I put this...what's going to make you stand out? What's the thing that makes people say wow?

Davis: I'm going to work very hard, I have been working hard. We have all sorts of parades this summer...

Ok, enough! Check out the rest of the video here. We'll continue to fisk Davis' positions on oil prices, healthcare, education, immigration, etc.

Back to the "franking privilege" bit from Davis.

Karl Bremer wrote an interesting story about the franking privileges of Minnesota's Congressional delegation.
Based on those reports, the cost for Bachmann's first mass mailing last year was 46 cents apiece for printing and postage -- more than double the 22 cents apiece mailings for Walz and Ramstad cost and significantly higher than Ellison's per-piece cost of 28 cents.

The biggest difference was in the production costs of the mailings. Bachmann spent a total of $32,589 with The Franking Group for mass mailings totaling 136,465, for a production cost of 24 cents each -- far beyond what her colleagues in either party spent.

Ellison spent $31,358 with Gold Communications for mass mailings totaling 265,522 - a production cost of just 12 cents apiece.

Walz' figures show only $2,210 spent on printing production of 101,017 pieces for a meager production cost of two cents each.

Ramstad paid Catterton Printing $15,295 for mass mailings totaling 300,017 -- a production cost of only 5 cents each.

Did Davis take a shot at Congresswoman Bachmann? After she endorsed him?

Bachmann spent a lot of money on her Davis labeled "taxpayer funded" campaign lit pieces.

Walz actually returned $100,000 back to the US Treasury in unused funds for his Congressional office!

We're glad to see Davis running on issues he can win on though! Going after Congressman Walz's fundraising, when being out raised 10-1 is interesting. Attacking Walz when the majority of Davis' campaign funds come from outside of the "Fighting First" and CD 1 is desperation.

The use of franking privileges is a part of constituent outreach. For Congresswoman Bachmann, IT IS constituent outreach.

Congressman Walz has held committee meetings in the 1st, countless open forums, townhall meetings, and other visits across the 1st. He is a Congressman that is accessible to his constituents. Spending $2200 on mail back to the district, twice the amount Davis paid a liberal blogger, is far from wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.

It's part of a comprehensive constituent outreach program.

That's not wasteful spending...


taxpaying liberal said...

Something else cool about Tim. He rates 2nd to the last in personal wealth amongst his fellow congress men and women. I’m sure Tim’s not happy about it, but this really is a middle class guy.

eric zaetsch said...

Another thing to look back at, to show the full grotesque tax money waste Michele Bachmann indulges in to get her ugly face into households in MN 6 on slick folded glossy multi-color high-resolution printed stuff -

Go back and look at Mark Kennedy. While I do not suggest he was a policy or issues paradigm, his mailings were on regular paper, tri-folded like a letter for easy postal office handling, not slick single half-fold cardstock.

He had text, black text on clear white paper background, about what he sponsored or voted for or thought helped the district. All the incumbents can do that.

Bachmann has bullet points saying nothing.

Not that Kennedy's stuff was sensational or special, content-wise, but in comparison to Bachmann it prevailed.

Bachmann runs on an ego Kennedy did not display.

I have never seen a piece of paper put out by Michele Bachmann without photos of her. Kennedy's mailings were low budget without bozo pictures, and relative to Bachmann's, they were informative.

I have not looked back at the expense numbers, but if you looked at Ramstad the historical Kennedy numbers may be available for comparison.

Bachmann talks the "don't waste" talk. She hardly walks the walk.