Benishek Franking Blunder; Frankly It’s Absurd

Franking is a benefit members of Congress can use to communicate with their constituents. Members can mail information and surveys to constituents with the idea of keeping them informed of what’s going on in Washington as well as gathering ideas from the home district.   As with many government programs, the benefit of the “idea” of franking is subverted by the “practice” of many members.  A great example of this subversion arrived in my mailbox on August 10, 2013 courtesy of Dan Benishek of Michigan’s First Congressional District.

The bulk of the piece is a jumble of self-congratulations that most franking pieces contain.  One of the great benefits of incumbency is that active members can have the tax payers pay for thinly veiled campaign pieces throughout a Congressperson’s term.  As long as things aren’t too blatant, most of us get what’s going on and accept it as one of the ways Congress works to guarantee the reelection of its members.

House rules, however, specifically ban inflammatory rhetoric against a particular Member or party. From the US House site is this rule:

“You may not use derogatory language against another Member or quote from extraneous material critical of another Member.  You not use offensive words against a Member or party or misrepresent the position of another Member.”

So while the letter of that rule is to prevent Members from using tax payer money to criticize each other, it also specifically bans offensive words against political parties.

Dan Benishek violated the letter and the spirit of this rule in his latest mail piece and it somehow got past the advisory board that evaluates mail pieces.  Assuming that the GOP is in charge of that process, I suppose it is not too big of a surprise that they allowed this nonsense to hit the mail while forcing us to pay for it.

In a survey card attached to the mail piece, Benishek asks this question:

“How would you describe the federal government?”

Let’s forget a moment that it’s really pretty hard to answer that question with a check mark, but let’s take a look at the answer choices:

  1. It’s too small   <<<< <No one is going to check this of course, and so the fallout will be that 100% of the respondents think government is too big.   The absurdity of the survey is already confirmed on the first possible answer choice.  But wait.  There’s more.
  2. It’s too large  <<<<< Ok, I guess if you have choice a., you ought to have choice b., even though there’s no real way to know exactly what is meant by the question.
  3. Do Not Know <<<<< Frankly, this answer should get 100% of the votes because the question is so vague that no one could really answer it honestly.   And let’s not spend too much time wondering what kind of person checks “Do Not Know” and mails the card back in.  (at least the card requires a stamp so the tax payers are only footing the bill for this drivel one way.)
  4. About the Right Size <<<<< Is ANYONE going to check this one?  Does anyone ever think government is “just about right” on anything?

Now here comes the whopper which should have immediately caused this survey to hit the trash can BEFORE taxpayers had to pay thousands to deliver it.

  1. It’s Becoming Tyrannical <<<<< Wait.  What?  The Congressman is suggesting that our government is becoming “tyrannical?”   About the only value to an answer choice like this is to appease the Tea Party voters who have been become about as frustrated with Dan Benishek’s incompetence as has the left.   At the same time, this derogatory reference is aimed squarely at President Obama and the Democrats who support him.   In a country born as a challenge to tyranny, calling our own government “tyrannical” is likely the biggest insult you can level against it.  Yet the good doctor choose to have tax payers foot the bill for his attempt to appease the radical, paranoid, right-wing constituents known as the Tea Party.

The only proper thing to do at this point is for Dr. Benishek to reimburse the Treasury for the cost of this mailing from his campaign funds.   I am initiating an action against the Congressman on Monday to force him to do just that.

When someone like Congressman Benishek runs for office on the promise of less government and then forces the tax payers to fund his re-election in violation of franking laws, it’s time for his constituents to do two things:

1)      Force him to repay our money which he illegally spent

2)      Run him out of office in 2014

Anything short of that and we are guilty of supporting the hypocrisy that is Dan Benishek.

I’ll keep you updated on my efforts to force him to repay the Treasury.

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One Comment on “Benishek Franking Blunder; Frankly It’s Absurd”

  1. jrpalm August 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    the mail pieces complement the phone “polls” done by Dan with similar “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions.

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