State Rep Gene Rardin 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?

Rardin-McKinney Franked Piece 1

Rardin-McKinney Franked Piece 1


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!”

Rarding Franking #2 2008

Rarding Frankin #2 2008

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?


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13 Comments to “State Rep Rardin’s FOURTH franked piece to kick-start his re-election campaign”

  1. washburn1 says:

    Whomever is responsible for this ridiculous story of conservative propaganda might want to actually check the facts before running such a blatant misguided witch hunt. If you have nothing better to do with your time than try and create and spread visible lies than you are more pathetic than I thought. Whomever is in charge of this sight is a worthless waste of of human life and should be locked up to prevent their narrow minded disturbed views away from the public.

  2. efg says:

    washburn1: Cite your facts. Make your logical case. Name calling and innuendo will not be tolerated in comments on this blog. What specifically is wrong in the above article, and what is your source of information?

    At State Rep Rardin’s town hall meeting (the subject of Mailing 2), both State Minority Leader McKinney and State Rep Rardin admitted tax dollars had been used in the Mailings 1 and 2. As mentioned above, most legislators had mailings like Mailing 3, so that’s no big deal.

    The only way for Mailing 4 to not be an ethics violation is if it were mailed at taxpayer expense, likely by Minority Leader McKinney who has a very healthy franking budget. If Rardin paid for Mailing #4, or if the Kansas Coordinated Campaign paid for Mailing #4, Ethics rules required a “Paid for” statement, which was not present.

    So was mailing #4 an ethics violation, or a taxpayer-funded franked piece?

    Please be civil, respectful, and factual in any reply.

  3. washburn1 says:

    After reviewing all of the mailings, it is not “logical” to argue that these mailings are campaign pieces. Rep. Rardin makes no reference to the 2008 election, he is not asking anyone to vote for him, he is not attacking anyone, and he is not directing anyone to any political website. The mailings aren’t attempting to influence opinions but only to inform his constituents of what issues were discussed in the Capitol this year, how people can reach him, and what resources are available to Kansans.

    If he were blatantly political in his mailings I would understand your complaint, but his mailings aren’t even partisan. He is only providing information and resources to his constituents, and that is his job as a state legislator.

  4. efg says:

    You are focusing on the content of the mailings, while I am focusing on the timing and intent of the mailings, and appropriateness using taxpayer funding. I have no problem at all if State Rep Rardin and the House Minority Leader wanted to use funding from political accounts for these mailings.

    At State Rep Rardin’s Town Hall meeting, House Minority Leader McKinney admitted only four Democratic State Reps benefited from Mailings #1 and #2. How is it fair that four State Reps get extra taxpayer dollars for mailings that benefit them, and all the other State Reps do not? How is it fair that a small number of State Reps get special treatment using tax dollars?

    State Rep Rardin sent a mailing like #3 a year ago, but did not send out the other three mailings. Why not send these pieces out before the legislative session so constituents having concerns could contact him while something could be done while the legislature was in session? Why are these extra three mailings only sent out at the close of the legislative session at the beginning of Rardin’s re-election bid? You’re saying the intent of these mailings wasn’t to get Rardin’s picture in front of voters multiple times – using taxpayer funding – at the beginning of the election cycle?

    And you support free speech by wanting me “locked up to prevent … narrow minded disturbed views” when I am voicing concerns about the expenditures of tax dollars?

    We may disagree on this, but perhaps the voters should decide if State Rep Rardin was wasting tax dollars or not.

  5. washburn1 says:

    The timing is the irrelevant part of this argument- the content of the mailing has EVERYTHING to do with it. No matter who paid for the mailings- the state or Rep. Rardin himself- as long as it is not political or campaign related Ethics does NOT require an endorsement. These pieces are obviously not campaign related- they don’t ask for a vote or even mention a political party. Therefore, Rep. Rardin was completely within his rights to send these out.

    Also, Rep. Rardin gets the same amount of money to send out mailings as every other legislator; it is his choice to decide how he wants to spend that money (as long as it is nonpolitical) and on how many pieces. Once he is out of his allotment he can continue to send out mailings if he chooses but he must pay for it himself, which he did. Furthermore, Rep. McKinney only endorsed ONE of the three mailings, and it was the mailing in which he came to the Kansas City area for the town hall meeting, so he was equally involved and it was reasonable that he would contribute to the cost. Let me remind you that this event was also NONPOLITICAL.

    As far as intent goes, considering there are no political innuendos on any of these mailings, there can be no assumption except for that Rep. Rardin’s intention was to keep his constituents informed. You are the one with “transparency” on your banner- you should applaud Rep. Rardin for his efforts to keep District 16 up to date about all that is happening in state government.

    And, P.S.- I’m a voter too, so I have a right to counteract your accusations with facts. If Rep. Rardin were wasting taxpayer dollars I would understand your concern, but he was only doing his job. If you want to talk about wasting taxpayer dollars, why don’t we talk about how Kansas Speaker of the House Melvin Neufeld wasted an entire legislative session on one issue alone? How about we discuss that he spent the entire first month of the 2008 session allowing NOTHING of note onto the House agenda?

    If you multiply legislative pay for each House member by 30 days, the bottom line is going to be significantly more than a mere $900 in franking by an individual member. In terms of productivity, the $900 in franking was put to better use than the first 30 days of legislative pay for the House of Representatives…and no one had the power to change that except the House majority leadership, because they control the agenda.

    It’s funny your concern never wanders to the right….

  6. rockchalk says:

    “No matter who paid for the mailings- the state or Rep. Rardin himself- as long as it is not political or campaign related Ethics does NOT require an endorsement.”

    Fact: If Rep Rardin’s campaign paid for the mailing, the campaign is required by law to state they paid for the mailing, regardless of content.

    “Rep. Rardin gets the same amount of money to send out mailings as every other legislator; it is his choice to decide how he wants to spend that money (as long as it is nonpolitical) and on how many pieces.”

    Fact: Rep. Rardin’s allotted money didn’t pay for all four mailings, as you imply.

    Furthermore, Rep. McKinney only endorsed ONE of the three mailings, and it was the mailing in which he came to the Kansas City area for the town hall meeting

    Fact: There were four mailings, three of which McKinney has his photo in. The proof was up above.

    “I’m a voter too, so I have a right to counteract your accusations with facts.”

    I wish you would use facts.

    Thanks meadowlark for backing up your statements with evidence as always. It makes it so easy to see who is telling the truth when you’re levelheaded and fact based as opposed to calling names and telling lies.

  7. washburn1 says:

    FACT: The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission HAS ruled that if a mailing is NONPOLITICAL the individual is not required to include an endorsement.

    FACT: Rep. McKinney contributed money to ONLY one mailing, and that is the flier that informed people about the town hall meeting that he actually attended.

    FACT: Rep. Rardin’s money went to EVERY mailing EXCEPT the mailing Rep. McKinney was involved with.

    FACT: This blog consistently ignores the truth if it is not convenient for right-wing conservatives.

  8. rockchalk says:

    “This blog consistently ignores the truth if it is not convenient for right-wing conservatives.”

    That’s an opinion, not a fact. It’s like the difference between a want and and a need.

    If you don’t like the blog, then go start one yourself. I have.

  9. rockchalk says:

    Also, you might get more people to listen to your comments if you didn’t start out like this:

    “Whomever is in charge of this sight is a worthless waste of of human life and should be locked up to prevent their narrow minded disturbed views away from the public.”

    It’s okay to disagree, but you might try disagreeing with decency rather than malice.

  10. washburn1 says:

    Agreed. The first post was not appropriate, which is why I made a significant effort to provide factual and thoughtful information in the responses following.

  11. washburn1 says:

    For the record, however, all the information I provided was 100% accurate, which was not the case in the post by meadowlark- both on this issue and many others.

  12. flyingt14 says:

    “For the record, however, all the information I provided was 100% accurate, which was not the case in the post by meadowlark- both on this issue and many others.”

    It’s interesting to me that nothing was actually provided for the record. I find Meadowlark one of the most researched bloggers of all time. Always facts backed up by links, images, specific citations — and then analysis which means a very well informed opinion.

    I understand if you don’t like or agree with his analysis, but give just 1 example on this issue of something that isn’t “100%” accurate.

  13. efg says:

    washburn1: I’ve never claimed to be perfect, but I am sincere in my pursuit of the truth. I modify articles or post corrections when new information is known.

    You could promote civil discourse by giving specific examples of what you think is inaccurate, and why. Why don’t you quote something you believe is wrong, and then present your facts and logic to counter what is in the quote? Your broad over generalizations are not helpful in the discussion.

    This discussion has been mostly about the postal expenses, but it’s not at all clear who paid for the design and printing of the three large postcards. Do you know, washburn1, who paid for the printing by Snyder Printing in Oklahoma City of the three postcards?

    Mailing 4 was printed by and mailed by the same groups behind the mysterious “Progress Kansas” non-profit that sent three negative mailings that benefited State Rep Rardin in 2006. Why now is State Rep Rardin using the same printers and mailing house as that mysterious non-profit from 2006?

    Do we agree that mailings 1 – 3 were franked pieces? Are you saying the article is not accurate because the fourth piece was paid for by Rardin’s campaign funds? Will we see Rardin report expenditures for that mailing in his July report? If it was paid for with campaign funds, why was there no “paid for by “statement, especially when the return address was “Kansas House of Representatives”?

    Why doesn’t Rep Rardin believe in clear “Paid for by” statements on his mailings? Why leave voters in the dark as to whether a mailing was paid for by tax dollars, or a political campaign?