Let me speak frankly about the frank.
The frank, or franking privilege, is the ability of incumbents in Congress to send out mail at taxpayers’ expense. There seems to be no end to the perks Congressmen bestow upon themselves. But what gives them one of the biggest election advantages is this franking privilege.
Many career politicians are shameless enough to pretend this free mail is simply used to respond to letters from constituents. That sounds like a reasonable and necessary expense. But the truth is that over 80 percent of our tax dollars spent on franked mail goes for unsolicited campaign-style mailings. The average incumbent spends a whopping $846,000 each year! That’s significantly more money than most challengers spend in their entire campaign.
While challengers have to raise the money from voluntary contributions, the career incumbents simply take this money from you and me the taxpayers. Sadly, this is another rip-off brought to us by politicians who put their careers ahead of your pocketbook.
But there are those who don’t abuse the franking privilege. The lowest spender in the Congress was Rep. Bob Schaffer of Colorado, who returned close to 90 percent of his postal allowance. What makes Rep. Schaffer different? He’s term-limited, having pledged to stay in Washington no more than 3 terms. Therefore, he isn’t spending his every waking hour chasing re-election. An aide said, “He feels he can be more frugal with the taxpayer’s money.”
Unlike career congressmen, citizen legislators like Colorado’s Bob Schaffer speak frankly without abusing the frank.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.