If you live in WV’s 1st Congressional District you probably received in the mail Congressman David McKinley’s glossy end-of-the-year report which is mostly a listing of the wonderful things that he has done for his constituency. What McKinley doesn’t tell you is that this "report" is paid for by that same Federal government that he often criticizes for waste and partisan concerns. More to the point is what his website said back in 2010 when he first ran for Congress:
David McKinley believes that it’s wrong to abuse taxpayer money by funding campaign-style "constituent" mailings and phone calls during re-election years.
That was listed under "The McKinley Plan for Congressional Reform." At the top of the list, by the way, was "term limits." (How many times have candidates taken the "I’ll work to impose term limits" pledge only to ignore it once they are elected?)
McKinley may be a hypocrite but he is consistent. In 2012, USA Today studied the cost of unsolicited mass mailings sent out by House of Representative members for the last nine months of 2011 and McKinley spent $263,000 for the period – good enough for 4th place among all representatives. (The McKinley camp would probably point out that we are not now in the middle of an election. I would answer that politicians, especially representatives who must run every two years, are always in the middle of an election.)
Here’s a question for you if you’re in the 1st Congressional District but don’t live in the immediate Wheeling area. I live in Wheeling and my mailing from McKinley has a full color photo of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge on the front cover. Is it on your front page? My hunch is that, like magazines which produce different covers for different demographics, the "Year End Report" has different photos for different parts of the district. Different covers would mean additional needless costs. If you have a different cover photo, drop me a line (see "contact me" above).
(hat tip to Think Progress)