By Tracy Emblem
Congressman Brian Bilbray recently sent out a tri-fold color brochure promoting himself to the residents in California's 50th Congressional district. The mailer would have been a very expensive campaign piece, but was sent in the guise of a "public document" as "official business" prepared and paid for at taxpayer expense.
In 1994, Congressman Bilbray, along with other Republicans signed the "Contract with America," a promise to restore "accountability" to Congress asserting government too easily spent the public's money.
So why isn't Brian Bilbray concerned about wasting taxpayer dollars to send mail to voters in the 50th District?
In 2007, the Congressional Research Service prepared a report for Congress advising representatives that the "franking" privilege had cost taxpayers $113.4 million in current dollars from 1988 to 2007.
On June 12, 2007, a bill HR 2687 was introduced to end the practice of mailing at taxpayers' expense. The bill was referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Interestingly, Bilbray was currently and is presently assigned to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but HR 2687 never made it out of the committee. It died a quiet death in the 110th Congress.
If truly worried about the budget deficit, Congressman Bilbray should use his position on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to advance an end to the wasteful franking privilege which
helps elect incumbents at taxpayer expense.