First-term, Democratic State Rep Gene Rardin continues the use of tax-payer funded mailings for his re-election campaign. In the last seven weeks, FOUR franked mailings have been used to put Rardin’s picture in front of potential voters. While Rardin was directly responsible for Mailing 3 (see below), which is common for all state legislators, the House Minority leader mailed the other three on Rardin’s behalf. All four mailings have been at taxpayer expense, and none of the mailings have a “paid for” notice.
Mailing 1. An April 17 Meadowlark report, Franking Abuse by Kansas Democratic Legislative Leadership, gave details of the both the Kansas House Minority Leader, Dennis McKinney, and the Kansas Seanate Minority Leader using their healthy franking budgets to send mailings on behalf of other legislators. At that time, there were known reports of franked pieces sent to two State Rep and two State Senate districts.
Why do voters suddenly need “Important State Government Phone Numbers” just as the legislative session is winding down?
Mailing 2. In Early May prior to a joint town-hall meeting by House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, and State Rep Rardin, a second mailing was sent out with the message “We want to hear from you!”
About a dozen people showed up at this town hall meeting, including this reporter. McKinney and Rardin were asked about these first two mailings, but they claimed they were legitimate use of tax dollars.
Mailing 3. Prior to Sine Die (May 29). Each Kansas legislator has a budget for mailings, which must be spent prior to sine die — the last day of the legislative session. Since all legislator are given the same opportunity, I have no problems with this mailing.
Mailing 4. On June 5 some in State Rardin’s State Rep District 16 received this mailing announcing his “Legislative Session Report 2008.
Near the bottom of this mailing, State Rep Rardin said:
I look forward to hearing your ideas about how to make 2009 our best year yet.
But unless State Rep Rardin wins his re-election bid, he has no way to act on the ideas from those receiving the mailing. Given the timing of this mailing, how can this be seen as a legitimate government expense? How is this mailing different from a campaign mailing paid for by the candidate’s election committee?
Why does State Rep Rardin get FOUR mailings paid for by taxpayers, when most legislators over the same period only get one?
- Moore franking abuse too?, Kansas Meadowlark, May 27, 2008.
- Update on Franking Abuse by Kansas Senate Minority Leader Hensley: $53,564 on 161,277 franked pieces, Kansas Meadowlark, May 7,2008.
- Franking Abuse by Kansas Democratic Legislative Leadership, Kansas Meadowlark, April 17, 2008.