One of the perks of being a member of Congress is that they are allowed to use federal taxpayer money to send letters to voters promoting all their achievements while in office. The only restriction is, they can’t use the money to send out mailers 60 days before an election, prohibiting them from using taxpayer money to get an edge over their opponents.
This is a benefit that all members of Congress use and is not seen as a big deal. However, several members of Congress who have taken the biggest advantage of this perk are also the same members who campaigned against the federal government’s overspending.
“I meant what I said last year when I asked Eastern Iowans to send me to Washington to change business as usual in Congress,” said Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) in an op-ed for The Gazette. “Washington is run by career politicians … who often care more about their careers than solving the tough problems that Americans want us to fix.”
Yet, Blum outspent all other members of Congress to send out letters to voters in his district. In his state alone, he spent $400,000 more than all of Iowa’s other Rep. Combined.
Rep. Frank C. Guinta (R-NH) campaigned on the pretension that every child in America will owe $50,000 to cover the national debt. “Washington politicians have run up a huge spending tab and left our kids the bill,” he said.
“Granite Staters sent me to Washington to reduce our $19 trillion national debt, burdening our struggling economy and children’s future,” he said, after voting against the budget last year.
Yet in 2011, Guinta spent $164,650 more than any Congressman on self- promotional mail.
“There is a thin line between maintaining a rapport with one’s constituents and electioneering. There must be a more efficient and most importantly, less costly way to distribute these papers,” Guinta’s campaign stated, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. “I am running to eliminate waste and reel in unnecessary spending — unlike Carol Shea-Porter. This is a small example of how reduction in expenditures begins.”