Every piece of mass mail that a member of Congress sends to constituents must bear the following words: "This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense." Sending mail to constituents at government expense is a part of what is called the "franking privilege." The amount of taxpayer money that representatives spend can range widely, from zero dollars up to hundreds of thousands. Data on members' franking spending suggests that members see this mail not only as a way of reaching out to constituents but of increasing their visibility in advance of elections. In 2010, many members who spent large amounts on mass mailings to constituents also faced tough reelection fights. Likewise, many members who spent little or none also retired or ran for other offices.
Below are the 10 representatives in the 111th Congress who spent the most on mass mailings to their constituents in 2010, along with the outcomes of their 2010 election campaigns.
|Representative||State||Party||Amt. Spent in 2010||Election Outcome|
|John Adler||N.J.||D||$487,176.02||Defeated in general|
|Dina Titus||Nev.||D||$381,865.36||Defeated in general|
|Zack Space||Ohio||D||$376,602.71||Defeated in general|
|Joe Sestak||Pa.||D||$368,611.38||Defeated in general (Senate)|
|Anh “Joseph” Cao||La.||R||$365,344.78||Defeated in general|
|Mark Schauer||Mich.||D||$363,145.29||Defeated in general|
|Bobby Bright||Ala.||D||$342,612.80||Defeated in general|
It should also be noted that Democrat Pedro Pierluisi, who serves as Puerto Rico's delegate to Congress, spent $814,269 on sending mail to his constituents in 2010, 67 percent more than Rep. John Adler, the representative who spent the most last year.
Below are the 22 representatives in the 111th Congress who spent no money on sending mass mailings in 2010, along with the outcomes of their 2010 election campaigns.
|Artur Davis||Ala.||D||Retired (ran for governor)|
|Kendrick Meek||Fla.||D||Defeated in primary (Senate)|
|Jim Oberstar||Minn.||D||Defeated in general|
|Earl Pomeroy||N.D.||D||Defeated in general|
|Zach Wamp||Tenn.||R||Retired (ran for governor)|