DesJarlais Spent $224,346 on Mailings in Three Month Period

He’s scrimping on most office expenses, but U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., ranked No. 1 in the U.S. House from October to December 2011 when it came to spending on franking or official mailings to constituents, records show, according to Andy Sher.
The 4th Congressional District representative from Jasper, Tenn., spent $224,346.33 on mailings, according to the House’s Statement of Disbursements, which details fourth-quarter spending by all 435 congressman.
Records show DesJarlais was also one of the top House spenders on mailings during all of 2011 with $282,385.34. At least three other House members in other states exceeded that. One, Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., spent $327,503.90, according to House records.
…DesJarlais said in an email statement that “we decided early on that one of our top priorities would be constituent outreach. This strategy has allowed me to incorporate the opinions and beliefs of 4th District residents into the important issues being debated in Congress.”
He said “almost every piece of mail my office sends out contains an issues survey. The data that I receive from these surveys plays an important part in making my legislative decisions.”
But the congressman’s spending is drawing fire from Tennessee Democrats who question why the conservative Republican freshman, who touts government cost-cutting, ranks high in what they charge are sometimes “political-style” communications.
“If someone is going to run on cutting spending, the last thing they should be is the biggest mail spender in Washington, D.C.,” state Democratic Party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese said. “It completely erodes his core message, which is cutting government, cutting spending. Especially when they’re this political-style mail.
“I don’t think people are too keen on their tax dollars being spent on this political campaign,” Puttbrese added.

Note: A list of franking expenditures by all nine Tennessee congressmen is below.

Here are taxpayer-funded congressional mass mailings and communications spending reported by Tennessee’s nine congressmen:
• Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. — $282,385.34
• Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. — $196,002.98
• Rep. Chuck Fleischman, R-Tenn. — $93,790
• Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn. — $88,051.28
• Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn. — $82,519.04
• Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. — $51,891.92
• Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. — $11,400
• Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. — $3,486.66
• Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. — $2,814.90
DesJarlais ranked No. 1 in the 435-member House during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Leave a Reply