As part of the Code of Laws of the United States of America – 39 U.S.C. § 3210(3)(a) to be specific – “It is the policy of the Congress that the privilege of sending mail as franked mail shall be established under this section in order to assist and expedite the conduct of the official business, activities, and duties of the Congress of the United States.”
Basically this means that members of Congress get to send mail to their constituents free. However, section 3210(5)(c) prohibits franked mail that “specifically solicits political support for the sender”.
This is a commonly abused law and many members of Congress go months, even a year between sending their constituents mail. Then, right before the next election, they’re suddenly all up in your mailbox.
So, it’s not particularly uncommon to use the free mail privileges to promote yourself before an election. However, multi-millionaire Republican Congressman David Trott from Michigan’s 11th Congressional District recently crossed the line with mail that he sent. The mail he sent is very clearly political and soliciting votes even though it doesn’t actually say “Vote for Trott”.
Have a look (click images for larger versions):
This is literature Trott recently sent to his constituents. It does nothing to communicate about issues that Trott’s constituents need to know about. It’s very clearly a piece of political literature and ONLY a piece of political literature.
I’ll bet he saved himself a few thousand dollars doing it, too! A multi-millionaire is illegally abusing his franking privilege to save a few thousand dollars. Sadly, this greedy corporatist Republican will get away with it and will likely be reelected because few people know his story and his district is heavily gerrymandered.
David Trott: still a greedy corporatist parasite on the jugular vein of society.
Adding… How gerrymandered is MI-11? Well, let’s just say they aren’t interested in Pontiac’s more liberal voters voting in that Congressional District:
[Hat tip to Cyndi Peltonen who tipped me off to this and provided the photos of the literature.]