PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – All incumbent politicians send out newsletters to their constituents at the taxpayer’s expense.
Now, a Republican challenger to a local incumbent calls a recent year-end review a thinly-veiled campaign mailing.
“I received one in my home here in Upper St. Clair, and it’s talking about all the things that Tim Murphy is doing to create jobs and all of these new programs that he is supporting. It’s really just a campaign piece,” Evan Feinberg told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Peters native and a Tea Party conservative, Feinberg is a 27-year-old former U.S. Senate staffer.
With his wife, Sarah, an Iraqi war veteran, they have an 8-month-old son.
Feinberg said Congressman Murphy is wasting tax dollars.
“He’s spending almost a third of his budget to send these things out,” Feinberg said.
It’s called “franking” and it is the signature of a member of Congress in place of a stamp.
Some members of Congress use it a lot on newsletters they send to their constituents, especially during an election year.
The mailings usually have lots of photos of the official and sometimes useful information.
“Tim Murphy, rather than send these newsletters out to his constituents, could have instead given that money back to the Treasury and helped pay down the debt — lead by example,” Feinberg said.
Federal law prohibits these mailings 90 days before an election, so you won’t get any more before the April Primary.
Feinberg admits Murphy violated no law.
“There are some rules, there are certain rules that you have to follow, so that you can walk right up to the line of it being a campaign piece. So, it’s technically legal,” Feinberg said.
Susan Mosychuk, Congressman Murphy’s chief of staff, said that a key part of Murphy’s constitutional responsibilities is keeping his constituents informed of the work he’s doing on their behalf.
Again, while some like Feinberg call these newsletters a waste of money, no laws have been broken.