Tag Archives: mailing

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.

Continue reading

Photo ID Mailing Cost $42,000 in Postage

Tennessee Secretary of State TrĂ© Hargett’s office spent more than $42,000 this month to send letters cautioning 118,268 older Tennessee voters that they must have government-issued photo identification to vote in the March 6 primary, according to Andy Sher.
“Dear Voter,” Hargett says in letters mailed out as early voting in presidential primaries began Feb. 15. “The Tennessee General Assembly has adopted a new law regarding identification needed to vote beginning with the 2012 election cycle.
“When you vote in person, either during early voting or on Election Day, you must present identification which contains your name and photo,” wrote Hargett, a Republican who backed the law. “To be valid, this photo ID must have been issued by a state or federal government.”
The letters were mailed to voters 60 and over who under another Tennessee law have not been required to have photos on their driver licenses.
In an email response to questions posed by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Hargett spokesman Blake Fontenay said postage for the letters cost the Secretary of State’s office $42,480.09.
“We don’t have the production cost yet because we haven’t yet received a bill,” Fontenay said.
When the Republican-backed bill passed the legislature last year, it wasn’t supposed to cost taxpayers much of anything, according to a fiscal note prepared by legislative analysts.
“The secretary of state will not require additional resources to implement the photographic identification requirement,” the memo said.