by Javier ManjarresHere we go again- the latest instance of Democrats in Congress using any means to further their political agenda would likely lead most clear-eyed observers to admit that rules were broken- several times, as a matter of fact. Recall several months back when House Democrats sent out taxpayer-funded mailers accusing Republicans of wanting to “End Medicare”? Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ (D-FL) most recent constituent mailer sent to her District’s constituents completely erases the line between “matters of public concern” that are allowed under House Franking Rules and outright political campaigning- we would say partisan demagoguery, but as they pertain to Wasserman-Schultz, we repeat ourselves.
You can read the regulations concerning House Franking privileges and judge the content of Wasserman Schultz’s mailer for yourself. (Click here for mailer)
Her first instance of flouting the rules in this particular is where she identifies and calls out a political opponent by name when challenges Congressman Paul Ryan(R-WI) and his Medicare plan, a preemptive political attack that likely falls under “nonfrankable items”.
The Wasserman-Schultz mailer states, “Under the leadership of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the House of Representatives has developed a plan to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system.”
The mailer also states, “The Ryan budget plan is a voucher plan. It would dismantle traditional Medicare and replace it with a voucher paid to insurance companies.”It seems that there also is a double standard in Congress as to what types of statements are allowable in franked congressional mail that can be disseminated to the public. According to a source in another Congressional office, when its representative prepared a mailer similar to the Wasserman-Schultz mailer in question, the Committee of House Administration denied their piece of mail simply because they named and questioned President Barack Obama.
The Wasserman Schultz mailer has some more questionable inclusions that also flout the rules. First, note the typical disclaimer that “this mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense.”
But in addition to the disclaimer, there are (4) clear promotions included on the mailer for 1. the recycling itself, 2. the Soy Ink campaign, 3. the promotion of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local #966 and finally 4. the promotion of “DWS TV”, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ own On-Demand Cable TV Channel on Comcast’s Cable Service.
“Soliticitations, Promotions, or Endorsements” are clearly prohibited by House Franking Rules- so why is Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz promoting a Teamster’s Union? Did the Teamster’s prepare, publish, and mail the mailer as it states? Regardless of whether or not the local Teamsters union printed this publication, if the House Franking Rules are to mean anything, it crosses the line to promote a clearly partisan organization- especially one that has donated untold amounts of money to Wasserman-Schultz. (Click here to view this image of the mailer)According to the latest FEC reports, the AFL-CIO,other unions, and the now famous SEIU has donated $10,000 from it’s coffers, and most interesting, the Comcast corporation’s Political Action Committee(PAC) has donated $7500 to Wasserman-Schultz.
Why are the Comcast cable donations interesting? At the bottom of the mailer, we learn that Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has her own cable TV channel- appropriately named “DWS TV”, which can be seen on Channel 890 on Comcast-on-demand. The channel is on demand, but does not charge viewers to watch. The DWS TV channel also has several categories including a quick synopsis of a day in the life of the Congresswoman, other issues related categories. Has Debbie Wasserman Schultz paid for her own On-Demand Cable TV station?
Clearly, rules are little more than an afterthought for the Democrats in the quest of their progressive socialist agenda. Are there any Democrats out there willing to defend this mailer with a straight face?
**Update- Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office just forwarded a document stating that the mailer in question had complied to House Franking rulings before it was mailed out. The question still stands as to whether the mailer blurred the line between ‘frankable’ or’ unfrankable’, regardless if it passed the sniff test.