If you visited John Kline’s revamped taxpayer-paid website, you may have noticed that the “Sign-up for Tele-Town Hall meeting” link is gone … although some taxpayers have complained that they were never notified of an event even though they had signed up.
Sadly, some only hear about these in the form of a “Thanks”
Thanks to everyone who participated in my telephone town hall tonight! It was great to welcome so many new constituents. #KlineTTH
— John Kline (@repjohnkline) January 8, 2013
Which prompts the question : How much did taxpayers pay for these events ?
The company that John Kline pays for the service is Citizen Dialog LLC and from the Statement of Disbursements filings :
$2,850 referencing a January 19th event (but most likely January 7th)
$2,850 referencing a March 25th event
$2,850 referencing a May 29th event
$2,750 referencing a June 24th event
$2,850 referencing a July 8th event
$2,850 referencing an August 14th event
$2,850 referencing an October 24th event
$2,850 referencing a November 18th event
In addition to the “telecommunication service”, Citizen Dialog LLC was also paid for “printing and reproduction” fees
$ 1,735.44 referencing printing for a November 29, 2012 service
$ 3,545.82 referencing printing for a December 28, 2012 service
$ 5,836.50 referencing printing for a May 25, 2013 service
$ 8,414.50 referencing printing for a July 8, 2013 service
$ 2,244.00 referencing printing for an August 9, 2013 service
$ 2,726.10 referencing printing for a May 23, 2013 service
$ 5,400.00 referencing reference material for a December 19, 2013 service
Now, it does not take a “Math Guy” to realize that the taxpayers have paid $47,202.36 to Citizen Dialog LLC just to eavesdrop in on their Representative fielding a “softball” question from typically less than ten “lucky” callers … (this link recaps the November 18 “event”).
Citizen Dialog LLC describes the process : Citizen Dialog will train your staff to screen callers, provide list work and help you collect polling data and emails from the participants on the call.
Upon conclusion of the call, we will also provide you with a comprehensive report on the success of the call.
Best yet, John Kline schedules the “teletown hall” at his convenience — for example, the August 14th “event” started just after 4:30 and the last call was completed at 5:19 … not even an hour, the whole charade was done.
So, what a great plan … control which constituents who are called … screeners to check the call content … your data collected … a report afterward (so that an email can be sent – i.e. a caller wonders about student loans
— John Kline (@repjohnkline) August 15, 2013
and John Kline’s staff can send a follow-up memo describing the recently enacted Kline Student Loan program (of course, the follow-up will not reference the recent reports from both the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office, that the federal student loan program will continue to turn a profit for the US Treasury through at least 2024.)
And best of all the whole charade is paid for by the taxpayers … the ones for whom John Kline constantly remind that he is “working to stop the runaway spending that leads to unprecedented debt”.
John Kline’s use of impromptu tele-town hall meetings as opposed to holding advertised, open public events is an insult to the voters … public officials need to be held accountable for their spending, but you will never get to an answer to that question as long as John Kline remains in power. This is not constituent outreach … this is motivated by targetting your voters. The NSA mega-data programs can learn from John Kline.
BTW — Be sure to read about the salary increases John Kline awarded to his staff …. all from your taxdollars.