Frankly speaking: Carol Shea-Porter’s good idea
During her first stint in the U.S. House of Representative, Carol Shea-Porter spent a lot of your money sending unsolicited mail to her constitutents.
In 2010, Republican challenger Frank Guinta made a big deal of Shea-Porter’s use of the franking privilege, through which members of Congress can send official mail without paying for postage.
Soon after Guinta defeated Shea-Porter, he became the top abuser of the franking privilege in the entire Congress. We’re not here to bash Guinta, but to praise Shea-Porter.
This week, the Rochester Democrat offered an amendment to a House appropriations bill to limit unsolicited mass mailings to the size of the postcard. No more would your mailbox be flooded with glossy newsletters from your representative, touting just what awesome representation you’ve been getting.
Shea-Porter seems to have learned from her earlier excesses. In the first three months of this year, she didn’t spend a dime on unsoliciated mass mailings or mass emails.
Good for her.
Shea-Porter’s amendment is a positive step. We’d take a few more. In an age of virtually-free communications, why should members of Congress be sending anything to constitutents who never asked for it? Answering the mail is one thing. Self-promotion, even limited to a postcard, is quite another.
But one step at a time. We urge the House to adopt Shea-Porter’s sensible amendment.