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Letter: The franking privilege

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

I received a mass mailing from Mr. Randy Hultgren some time ago, claiming he wants to save Medicare by means of – what many are calling – a voucher plan. Hultgren has asserted over and over that he wants to cut government spending and reduce the deficit. When the tea party group was willing to shut down the government to block a necessary increase in the limits on the national debt, he was one of the few that voted against the compromise that eventually passed. The stock market dropped 500 points in one day because of this impasse. Apparently he wasn’t concerned about the effect of their efforts to shut down the government.

Would it be right to assume that he is a true deficit hawk? Well, the above mentioned mass mailing in the upper left-hand corner contained the seal of the U.S. House of Representatives and the statement that it was “prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.” In other words, he was quite willing to spend government money to promote his interests. He is entitled by law to use the franking privilege for postage. I have read the franking law, and it does not mention the right to have campaign literature prepared by the government. A recent analysis of franking expenditures showed that GOP representatives comprised eight of 10 lawmakers spending the most on franking. Some spent several hundred thousand dollars. They are really concerned about the deficit but not when it affects their reelection.

Recently, the House Democrats forced a floor vote to reduce franking by 10 percent. Once Republican voted for the measure. The measure failed.

Edward Lynd Kendall Batavia

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