QUERY : How many mass mailings will John Kline do prior to May14th ?
Previous commentaries have noted that John Kline can give a great “talk”
— “For too long, leaders in Washington have allowed government spending to spiral out of control, racking up record deficits” —
but then reviewing the one area of Washington spending that he controls — his Congressional Staff budget — one sees that Representative Kline’s spending is questionable — such as, staff bonuses given after the GOP Shutdown. Of course, the staff was necessary for the holding of Kline tele-Town Hall meetings (taxpayer cost = $47,202.36) … thus, it is only appropriate to look at his other methods that he uses to communicate with his constituents — Franked Mail.
What’s Franked Mail ?
In accordance with Public Law 104-197 §311 and Resolution 110-10 of the Committee on House Administration, a mass mailing is any unsolicited mailing of substantially identical content distributed to 500 or more persons over the course of the Legislative Year (January 3 of one year through January 2 of the following year).
For the period, October 1, 2013 – January 2, 2014, John Kline distributed 30,000 pieces of mail at a taxpayer cost of $14,910.00.
Representative Kline’s Franked Mail expense for the year was $41,305.52.
There are various rules for the content of the mailing … such as —
The appearance of personal references to a Member are limited to an average of 8 per page/panel. A personal reference is any appearance of the Member’s name, title, or official positions and the pronouns “I” and “me”.
The Member’s name may appear up to ½” in height in one instance; all subsequent appearances may not exceed ¼” in height.
There may only be two photos per page/panel in which the Member is pictured; the size of these photos, in aggregate, may not exceed 20% of the surface of the page/panel on which they appear or 24 square inches, whichever is less.
The appearance of party labels or the names of party personalities is limited to two per party/personality per page/panel; party labels (except when integral with the title of a House leadership office or organization) or the names of party personalities may not appear in head/lead/or bolded lines or photo captions.
Official mail may not include:
— Matter which is partisan or political in fact or tone;
— Comments critical of another person which are partisan or political in fact or tone;
— Solicitations, direct or indirect, on behalf of any other person or organization;
— Matter in support of grassroots organizing or lobbying activities, including matter which generates or circulates a petition or equivalent.
Obviously, sending Franked Mail is a clever way to polish an image … and considering that John Kline received 193,587 votes in the last election, there is a good likelihood that only “certain” voters are getting the specific “mass mailing”.
Ah, yes, the NSA mega-data collection programs could probably take a lesson or two from John Kline … you gotta know who to send the mass mailing about your votes on protecting Second Amendment rights and his efforts for commonsense legislation that protects and encourages opportunities for recreational hunting and fishing. Conversely, if you contacted his office protesting his vote to cut food stamps by $40 million or his opposition to Head Start funding, you probably did not get a piece of Franked Mail.
Why would you want to send a mass mailing to every potential voter — 397,698 — when you know that some will not support your re-election efforts ? Okay, maybe because those are taxpayers … and they paid to have these “mass mailings” sent ?
Here’s the funny thing … not every Member of Congress sends as many Franked Mailings as does Representative Kline. In fact, look at the neighboring districts — to the south, Tim Walz (D-MN-01) spent $1,298.27; to the north, Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) spent $3,434.29; while to the west, Keith Ellison (D-MN-05) spent $1,643.53.
In the age of emails, why should any Member of Congress use taxpayer money to print and mail containing photos of the Member doing his job ?
For John Kline, that’s because its part of the Kline re-election machine … after all, taxpayers have paid it for years and years
Funny thing is that if you check the annals of the Republican Party’s platform, at one time the platform carried a plank that demanded the frank’s elimination. Today’s incumbents should heed that concept.
Instead, Representative Kline has taken Franked Mail one step further … he paid $8,000 to a company called FrankingGrid.
Online Constituent Communications for Elected Officials
FrankingGrid was established to help elected officials take full advantage of the Internet’s power to target an audience and reach them with the right message at the right time.
Members can now increase their profile, build their email and newsletter lists, and build awareness of their websites, constituent services, and policy decisions.
The Grid ad network targets voting constituents on thousands of local and national news, politics, radio, television, entertainment, blogs, and social media sites, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, & YouTube. Proven targeting allows the ads to be shown on these well know sites, but only to the computers that log on in the appropriate Congressional District.
Grid takes care of everything from banner and text ad creation, keyword selection, site list creation and ad placement. We also provide easy to read reporting on how many people in District saw the ads, clicked on them, and then joined your email or newsletter lists or signed up for your event.
Yeah, John Kline is really concerned about taxpayer cost (the House’s Frank Mail program could be $25 million) … but more so at retaining his seat of power in Washington.
Oh, here’s the good news … because of the primary election, there cannot be any mass mailings after May 14th … which prompts the question : If the Congressman’s message was so important that constituents need to hear it, why does it stop prior to an election ?