QUERY : How can you tell a Fiscal Conservatives from a Faux-Fiscal Conservative ?
ANSWER : See how they spend YOUR TAXDOLLARS on their Members’ Representational Allowances.
Last week, the House approved it’s budget for itself … including requesting $573,939,282 for Members’ Representational Allowances (MRA) … that’s the monies they use to pay their office staff, travel (including leased vehicles), meals, office rent, and MASS MAILINGS.
Fun Fact for the TaxEnoughAlready Movement, Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) was the clear winner in the Minnesota House delegation in the catagory :
Summary Tabulation of Mass Mailings
Distributed by Each Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
In accordance with Public Law 104-197 §311 and Resolution 110-10 of the Committee on House Administration, this table summarizes the number and costs incurred of mass mailings distributed via USPS by each Member. A mass mailing is any unsolicited mailing of substantially identical content distributed to 500 or more persons over the course of the Legislative Year.
First Quarter – $43,527.45 for 329,050 mass mailings distributed;
Second Quarter was $2,445.75 for 5,435 mass mailings;
Third Quarter was $58,487.88 for 160,818 mass mailings;
and Fourth Quarter — $111,241.17 for 290,123 mass mailings.
In this fiscal environment, Fiscal Conservatives bemoan of government spending, so one would hope that Members would take a hard look at justifying every expenditure.
During the course of the debate on the appropriation, a true Fiscal Conservative, Jeff Flake (R-AZ-06) offered an amendment :
Mr. FLAKE. This amendment would simply prohibit Members, Committees, and leadership offices from using taxpayer-funded MRAs to purchase online advertisements. These ads are little more than a tool to boost name identification. They blur the lines between official duties and campaign activities. I believe, and I think most of us would concede, it’s an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.
Representative Flake went on to call this activity “pure electioneering or campaigning.” :
“The taxpayers have no reason to fund that kind of purchase in online advertising.
We already see the abuse that takes place with regard to franking. When you receive in the mail a four-color glossy that you can’t even tell the difference between that these days and a campaign mailer, unless you look and see the very, very fine print that is there on the bottom of the mailer: paid for at taxpayer expense.
Enter the Internet world and the potential for abuse is that much greater when Members can target ads.”
Representative Flake offered some examples of “franking on the Internet.”
It’s things like this, and I’ll just read a few.
This is from a Member:
“Like” my Facebook page to find out what I’m doing to create jobs, to reduce spending, and to put our economy back on track.
How is that necessary for the taxpayer to fund?
Come on. Let’s get real here.
I want to know, do you support a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution?
I don’t really want to know that. Members just want to get traffic, name IDs to their Web pages.
Now, I’m not a Luddite here. I have my own Web page. I have a Facebook account. I do all of that, but I do it where it’s appropriate–with campaign funds, not with official funds to campaign.
When it came to a vote, the Republicans – the supposed party of Fiscal Conservatives proved to be the party of Faux-Fiscal Conservatives, rejected Representative Flake’s Amendment 137 to 94 … and voting Against the Fiscal Responsibility was only one Minnesota Republican, Erik Paulsen.
So, if you are part of the 4,762 people who said they LIKE Erik Paulsen via his Taxpayer-funded House website, let me express my faux-THANKS to you for wasting our Tax Dollars.