With another competitive re-election on the horizon, how many campaign-style mass communications has Congressman Dave Reichert sent at taxpayer's expense in 2010?
560,393. That cost taxpayers $206,727.
"It's sad that Dave Reichert continues to waste taxpayer dollars to bolster his re-election campaign," said Scott Whiteaker, DelBene's communications director. "Unemployment is nine percent, and the only job Dave Reichert works to save is his own."
The number and cost of Reichert's mass communications exceeds all other members of Washington's House delegation. He paid The Franking Group, a direct mail firm that produces mailers, $105,903, and paid an additional $100,824 for postage and other direct costs.
The purpose of these communications is to bolster Reichert's re-election campaign. His claims otherwise don't stand up - just look at the content and timing of his mailers.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, "A review of the mailings in the House Legislative Resource Center found much of what is contained in the newsletters parrots Republican talking points." Of the 2010 total, the House's reports show that Reichert sent 421,764 between April 22 and May 19 - the final four weeks he was allowed to send them on the public's dime.
"The only person who benefits from Dave Reichert's taxpayer-funded communications is Dave Reichert," said Whiteaker. "It is bad enough that Dave Reichert votes to help special interests rather than the people he represents. The least he could do is not waste taxpayer money on blatantly political mailers during a recession."
DelBene believes The Franking Commission, a partisan committee of representatives that approves mass communications, should be replaced with an independent body to review the content, timing and nature of mass communications.
"It is clear the current system does not work," said DelBene. "We need to be more responsible with taxpayer dollars. Congressional mailings should be used to communicate important information, not campaign rhetoric, and it is a conflict of interest to ask partisan politicians to police the communications of their colleagues."