10 Lawmakers Who Spend the Most Taxpayer Money on Mail

The franking privilege allows members to communicate with constituents on the taxpayer's dime.

By SHARE

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.

[See a slide show of the 10 members who spent the most on mail.]

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
Vern Buchanan Fla. R $413,595.49 Reelected
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
Christopher Lee N.Y. R $357,469.11 Reelected
Gerry Connolly Va. D $349,074.20 Reelected
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.

Joe Baca Calif. D Reelected 
Robert Brady Pa. D Reelected 
Michael Capuano Mass. D Reelected 
Howard Coble N.C. R Reelected 
Artur Davis Ala. D Retired (ran for governor) 
Bill Delahunt Mass. D Retired 
Vern Ehlers Mich. R Retired 
Barney Frank Mass. D Reelected 
Tom Graves Ga. R Reelected 
Ralph Hall Tex. R Reelected 
Brian Higgins N.Y. D Reelected 
Dale Kildee Mich. D Reelected 
Steven LaTourette Ohio R Reelected 
John Linder Ga. R Retired 
Kendrick Meek Fla. D Defeated in primary (Senate) 
Jim Oberstar Minn. D Defeated in general 
Earl Pomeroy N.D. D Defeated in general 
George Radanovich Calif. R Retired 
Bobby Rush Ill. D Reelected 
John Shadegg Ariz. R Retired 
Fred Upton Mich. R Reelected 
Zach Wamp Tenn. R Retired (ran for governor) 
 

American Samoan Democratic delegate Eni Faleomvaega and Guam Democratic delegate Madeleine Bordallo also sent no mass mailings in 2010.