This is a new local blog for Florida's sixth Congressional district and watching the actions of Cliff Stearns, the Republican representative who misserves us in Washington. If you are interested in posting at The Case Against Cliff, drop me a line at with some idea of your Democratic and/or progressive credentials and I'll add you as a blogger.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Say One Thing, Do Another

Every registered voter in the Sixth District of Florida received a copy of Cliff Stearns' "Washington Report", dated August, 2008. This "newsletter" was sent out under the Congressional free franking privilege, and, as such, is marked "This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense."

The entire front page of this large, expensive mailing is devoted to a sizable portrait of Cliff and a letter from him addressed "Dear Friends". In the letter, Cliff is congratulating himself because he has "consistently received the highest ratings for voting to reduce government spending" after first telling us that he has "tried my entire career to ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely".

Okay, then. That's why he spends all that money to print and mail a newsletter that could be posted on his website and even emailed to constituents virtually for free. How does Cliff rank on the use of this archaic practice? Here's a peek at the numbers for 2006, the last full year in which Cliff was a candidate:

So there we have it. Out of 435 members of the House of Representatives, Mr. "ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely", outspends 428 of them on the franking privilege and exceeds 432 of them in terms of the number of pieces of mass mail sent out.

Cliff says he is all about spending money wisely by the government, at least until it is time to dip at the public trough to send out fluff mail pieces to get his name in front of the voters on the last day before the election on which it is legal. Is this a wise use of our tax dollars?

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