How can Dave Reichert afford to pay for so many glossy, full-color mailings, when his campaign is struggling to raise money? Easy… he just passes the cost off to unsuspecting taxpayers:
At first glance, these fliers may look like campaign mailers. But they are produced and mailed at taxpayer expense, using a congressional privilege called “franked mail.”
Most members of Congress use such taxpayer-financed mail to let constituents know what’s happening on Capitol Hill and within their districts. Since his election to Congress in 2004, Reichert has been among the state’s biggest users of franked mail. He spent more on postage than other members of the state’s delegation in 2005 and 2006, according to federal records.
According to the Seattle Times, Reichert ranked second in the state for 2007, racking up a bill of $90,000 to Jay Inslee’s $104,000. But Reichert’s total only includes the cost of postage, whereas Inslee’s report includes the costs of printing and design. (Reichert mailed out 475,000 pieces compared to Inslee’s 171,000.) Anybody who has ever paid to print glossy, double-sided, full-color, 11×17 tri-folds knows that they don’t come cheap, so we’re looking at a total bill to taxpayers of as much as $500,000.
That’s like a half-million dollar campaign contribution from US taxpayers… and that’s just for 2007. Reichert sent out a deluge of franked mail in recent months, ahead of the May 21 cutoff, repeating a pattern of franking abuse he established back in 2006… an “aggressive Franked Mail program” even by his own admission:
Will also oversee and update electronic, internet and other communications, including an aggressive Franked Mail program.
That’s from a March 2007 job ad Reichert ran for a Press Secretary, a job description that curiously included “campaign experience” as a necessary qualification for a staff position that is expressly prohibited by law from engaging in campaign activities. Huh.
Like all Republicans, Reichert likes to fancy himself a fiscal conservative. But when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars on himself he is consistently our state’s most profligate spendthrift.