Democratic Rep. Bill Owens has squandered $552,987 in taxpayer money to send slick mailers that keep district residents informed about his "accomplishments" in Washington.
"The "franked' mail privilege is an incumbency protection program at our expense," said Matt Doheny, a Republican candidate in the 21st Congressional District. "Members know this. That's why they passed a rule that prohibited this sort of mail from being sent out within 90 days of a member's election."
Owens has littered his congressional district with 1.84 million pieces of four-color glossy mailers that are virtually indistinguishable from traditional campaign advertisements.
The pieces always include the congressman's name in big, bold type and multiple photos of him. They oftentimes tout legislation he's authored -- even though those bills have always died from lack of support. They also mislead readers about the specifics of bills the incumbent has supported or opposed, while giving him credit for solving non-existent issues.
"It's ironic that Bill Owens would willfully waste our hard-earned dollars to tell us that he's trying to "put our fiscal house in order,'" said Doheny. "This kind of big-government thinking is exactly why he's got to go. He doesn't get it, but I do. I'll introduce legislation to end the franking privilege when I get to Congress. If members want to promote themselves, they should use their campaign accounts."