Now, as absurd as it may seem, this is all legalâ¦up to a point. The âFrankingâ privilege is an old practice whereby the Congressmanâs cost of communicating âofficial businessâ is paid for with tax dollars. The problem has been that incumbent politicians have abused this âprivilege.â Human nature being what it is, it seems the primary job of an elected Representative has become to rig the electoral process to ensure re-election.
So, over the years, various public interest groups have rained a bit on their parade by shaming them to set certain restrictions. One such restriction is contained in Rule XLVI of the House of Representatives, paragraph 6 which says that a âmass mailing shall not be frankableâ¦when the same is postmarked less that ninety days immediately before the date of any primary or general election.â Well, in the case of the most recent âimportant information,â the material was delivered to a local post office in the District on June 28, and delivered to residents the same day, 83 days before the Primary Election. Whether or not the Congressman broke the rules would depend on the definition of âpostmarked,â because, in fact, it is not postmarked. To research this question would require information which the US Postal Service was not prepared to furnish, unless I filed an inquiry under the Freedom of Information Act, which takes more time and effort than Iâm prepared to devote to it, particularly where Iâm rather sure that officialdom will devise a technical explanation for why the practice of postal employees actually placing the Congressmanâs campaign literature in peopleâs mailboxes 83 days before the election is O.K.
So, to save myself and some federal employees a lot of time, I am making the simple, direct request to Mr. Lynch that he acknowledge that the spirit, if not the letter of the rule has been violated and that itâs more appropriate for his campaign, which has about $1 million at its disposal, and not the taxpayers, to pay the PR firm that designed it, the printer that printed it, and the Postal Service that delivered it.
I can only guess that the production and distribution of this campaign literature cost taxpayers about $50,000. I suppose when youâre voting to raise the debt limit on our children to $9 TRILLION, Mr. Lynch would view this amount as chump change (the kids will never miss it).
Phil Dunkelbarger, DEMOCRAT
Candidate for Congress, MA 9th District
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