Congressman Ed Perlmutter, democrat from Colorado’s 7th Congressional District recently sent out a constituent mailing touting his work on behalf of Colorado families by helping them in financial crisis. In his mailing he puts forth the typical democrat agenda – battling subprime mortgage “abuse”, better student loans, blah, blah, blah.
I have no problem with constituent mailings. This, however, takes the cake. It consisted of an 11″ x 17″ tri-fold glossy full-color brochure touting the congressman’s accomplishments and also telling constituents where to check their credit ratings. There was a nice photo of the happy congressman meeting with constituents on financial matters and a wonderful testimonial from a constituent who Permutter helped to keep her house from foreclosure. Frankly, the whole thing looked like a campaign brochure. I scanned portions of it as an illustration (click on the thumbnail to see the a somewhat larger image):
And right smack on it was the disclaimer “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.”
In an effort to find out how much this cost the taxpayer, I went to several online printing houses to get estimates for what such a brochure would cost to print. The average cost was about 9 cents per piece. At an estimated 300,000 households in the district( Perlmutter’s congressional website states that the 7th’s population is over 614,000, so I asssumed an average two people per household) , the printing costs would be about $27,000. (I think that 9 cents per item is on the low side as I doubt the congressman used a low-budget web-based printing vendor.) I then did a bit of research on franking expenses. According to a 2001 rate chart issued by the US Postal Service for members of Congress for constituent mailings the cost of a 100,000 piece mailing to constituents was $14,500. Figuring approximately 300,000 households in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District the postage on this mailing at 2001 postage rates is $43,500. There have been postage rate increases since then, so I’m sure this figure is higher.
So this nice little campaign ad disguised as constituent mailing probably cost us taxpayers more than $70,000, a very conservative estimate. Most likely it was a lot more.
Seems that Perlmutter likes to spend money on franked mail. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette Perlmutter spent $19,000 his first quarter in office on franking. I would be interested to see what his printing costs were.
This dandy brochure also contained a nice little card which can be returned to the congressman in which I could share my financial concerns by checking off financial issues facing my family. Such issues I could check off were “affordable college tuition”, “savings for retirement”, “high interest rates on credit cards” and “rising mortgage costs”. Unfortunately, he failed to put the check box for “rising cost of government due to wasteful spending by congressmen”
I love that in the 2006 election democrats campaigned on wasteful spending by the republicans and also on how much more ethical they were than republicans. Unfortunately, this particular mailing is wasteful and shows a lack of ethics in that it is really campaign literature paid for by the taxpayer. Shame on you, Ed Perlmutter.
Tell you what, Congressman Perlmutter, you stop wasting my money and I’ll deal with saving for my own retirement and my kids’ college. Okay?