October 17, 2014
Did 20-year incumbent Congressman Ken Calvert violate the law relating to Congressional franking privileges when he mailed, at taxpayer expense, a postcard to constituents in California’s 42nd Congressional District on October 3, 2014?
Under the law in question, 39 U.S.C. sec. 3210 (a)(6)(A), a Member of Congress is prohibited from mailing a piece of franked mail fewer than 90 days before any election in which the Member is a candidate for election, if the mailing qualifies as a “mass mailing”. A mass mailing is defined as a piece of substantially similar mail totaling more than 500 pieces. The franking privilege, which dates back to 1775 in the United States, allows members of Congress to send mailings with their signature without stamps. The Congress then reimburses the U.S. Postal Service for the cost. The franking privilege is not permitted to be used to solicit votes or contributions
On October 7, the Sheridan campaign was informed that constituents in California’s 42nd Congressional District were receiving postcards from Mr. Calvert defined as a “Public Document” that was “prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense.” The subject of the mailing was “Making Washington Work for You.”
In response to constituent complaints, the Sheridan team began an investigation to determine if Mr. Calvert’s mailing so close to the general election was appropriate. After concluding that the piece of mail itself should not have been sent using taxpayer money, the only question remaining was whether it qualified as a mass mailing. Late yesterday the United States Postal Service confirmed that the mailing included more than 500 pieces of mail.
“For a Member of Congress who has more than $500,000 in his campaign account to send a mailing, at taxpayer expense in violation of an easily understood and plainly written statute and rules, further demonstrates that it is time for a new representative in California’s 42nd and for Mr. Calvert to cease using the taxpayer’s money for his own benefit,” said Kerry Meuchel, Vice Chair of the Sheridan campaign. “Mr. Calvert uses campaign money to travel to the Napa Valley and buy cigars,” Meuchel continued, “Now he is using taxpayer money for inappropriate purposes. Congress is broken and Mr. Calvert clearly exemplifies why it is broken.”
The general election will be on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The last day to register to vote in that election will be October 20, 2014. You can register online at: http://registertovote.ca.gov/.
For .pdf file click here: Press Release Oct 17 Did Calvert Violate the Rules3
For Immediate Release Contact: Cindy Petersen 951-471-2520