I hate to say it, but I am leaning toward the N&O on this one. During the 2010 campaign, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-Dunn) attacked her opponent, then-incumbent Bob Etheridge, for his use of taxpayer-funded mailings to constituents. The N&O is reporting that Ellmers is now sending out taxpayer-subsidized mailings to 2nd district voters touting her accomplishments in Washington:
During her campaign last year Republican Renee Ellmers slammed Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge for sending tax-paid mailings to his constituents.
But now that she is a member of Congress, Ellmers too is sending out tax-paid mailings to constituents.
Last year she thought it was a bad idea, firing off a letter to Etheridge accusing him of using taxpayer money to campaign.
“In every way these mailings resembled typical campaign ads, except they were paid for by taxpayers and not by your campaign,” Ellmers wrote in a letter her campaign made public. “How can you explain writing taxpayers that you are ‘reducing the deficit’ when you are wasting thousands of dollars of their money on political mailings to help you get reelected?”
Her congressional office reported spending $18,997 on two mailings to constituents in June and August that said she was “fighting for seniors” health care benefits and for “preserving Medicare.”
Asked about the mailing Monday, Ellmers said in a statement that it was an important part of her job to keep her constituents informed on the issues that will affect them.
“But even more important is hearing what they think, what issues concern them, and how I can serve them,” Ellmers said. “That is why nearly every one of these constituent mailings include a reply section where I encourage constituents to tell me their thoughts on these issues. This is about having a conversation, not making a sales pitch. My constituents want to hear from me and I want to hear from them …”
Make no mistake: Bob Etheridge needed to be removed from Congress. (It ticks me off that he is still on the government payroll, thanks to Madame Governor.)
It’s not enough to say that you are going to send out those mailings because everyone else in the House does it. I’ve thought those mailings were blatant campaign tools for the longest time. If you want to send out propaganda, pay for it with your campaign funds. A serious conservative would push to have funding for those mailings struck from the budget.
In Ellmers’ defense, she is being subjected to more scrutiny by The N&O, in her short time in office, than her Triangle-area Democrat colleagues David Price and Brad Miller have COMBINED in their LIFETIMES.
The folks in the N&O newsroom, if they looked really hard, could surely come up with an occasional lie, or piece of hypocrisy, perpetrated by a Democrat CURRENTLY IN OFFICE. (Don’t wait until they are out of office, like you did with Mike Easley.)
IF they really wanted to …