Fifth District Republican Congressional candidate Brose McVey has called on incumbent Representative Dan Burton to stop sending political junk mail at taxpayers' expense.
"It's time for the 5th District to be represented by a leader, not by a follower. Rep. Burton can send a signal to his colleagues and his voters by saying 'no' to this political privilege," McVey said.
In addition, McVey asked Burton to disclose the full cost of design, production and the market value of postage associated with his use of the franking privilege since elected in 1982, and since his reelection last fall. Burton's latest mailing, touting his personal opinion about the House Democrat health care plan, recently arrived in mailboxes throughout the eleven-county district.
"Our voters aren't stupid," said McVey. "They know that glossy photographs of the Congressman beside pretty charts and graphs don't represent voter education or service." Pointing to the economy and exploding federal debt, McVey asked Congressman Burton to suspend further mailings.
"Our people are tired of politics as usual. They've had enough. I've had enough. It's time to say 'No' to more federal spending; it's time to say 'No' to more political perks. If the Congressman wants to send out four-color photos of him and spooky looking doctors, he should use some of the money he's raised from Washington's political action committees, not our tax dollars," McVey said.
McVey began his campaign in March by calling for term limits and for an end to Burton's political junk mail. McVey has also sworn off donations from Political Action Committees (PACs) and has promised to work to end gerrymandered districts that favor incumbents. Burton has served in Congress since 1983.
By the way, McVey is not the first person to rail against the franking privilege. There have been previous attempts during our nation's history to revise or get rid of the Congressional perk. For example, a bill was introduced as recently as the 110th Congress that would require House Representatives to include a statement enumerating the costs of producing and sending franked mail. The bill was probably referred to committee, never to be seen again.
The New York Times published a newspaper editorial on July 20, 1869 urging Illinois Congressman J.F. Farnsworth to introduce a bill that would eliminate the franking privilege. For those of you who love history, or love our language, or simply want to revel in the glory of old-timey newspapers, I urge you to read the 1869 NYTimes editorial here.