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Posted by on Aug 22, 2009 in Politics | 17 comments

Return of the Franking Sign Monster

Frankenstein.jpgLast month, in a column at Pajamas Media, we talked about the Franking Sign Monster. At that time we discovered that the Franking Commission – usually little more than a glorified group of hall monitors charged with making sure none of the members are stealing stamps – had been censoring the mailings of certain Republican Congressmen because they didn’t care for the characterizations and language used to describe Democratic proposals.

Well, nearly a month has gone by and it seems that the villagers have been unable to drive the monster from the castle, no matter how many pitchforks and torches they brought. Yep… they’re at it again.

House Republicans this week accused Democrats of censoring GOP mailings to constituents on a variety of subjects and of imposing uneven requirements on the minority party’s mail.

Democrats on the franking commission — which must approve all official mail — have blocked Republicans from using politically weighted descriptions of climate change legislation, the stimulus bill and other issues, according to e-mails obtained by Roll Call.

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) said he went through seven drafts of his last newsletter, which included language about energy policy.

So what sort of language is being censored now?

First, a reference to the American Clean Energy and Security Act as “cap and tax.” Granted, it’s not the actual name of the bill, but plenty of us have looked this one over and determined that the latter name is far more accurate than the former. When you impose government fees on the energy industry, there is simply no way that they’re just going to eat the losses. They’re going to pass it on to their customers, which results in what effectively acts as a tax on all Americans of every income level.

But let’s say we let that one pass since the name is technically inaccurate. What else is being sent back by the Franking Commission? Representative Trent Franks (R-Ariz) had one rejected insisting that he change the word “Democrats” to “majority.” He also had a second mailing rejected for using the phrase “so called stimulus.” Are you kidding me?

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) submitted a newsletter which said, “[O]ur nation will wind up paying the price for the Democrat Congressional majority’s special interest agenda.” It was rejected, while strangely, Nancy Pelosi herself sent out a letter in 2006 saying, “But too many here and across the nation are paying the price for the Republican Congressional majority’s special interest agenda.’”

Funny how that one got approved, eh? When the Commission was notified of this obvious switch-up they said that the approval of Pelosi’s letter had been “in error” but they relented and approved the mailing.

Before we close, let’s take one more sentimental look back at the good old days when the Democrats first took back the Majority in 2006, and the stirring words of Nancy Pelosi:

The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.”

So…. Nancy. How’s that working out for ya?

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  • TX_HCG

    and we wonder why the Republicans are accused of being wimps!

    Does anyone know – Are emails uncensor-able?

  • SteveK

    House Republicans this week accused Democrats of censoring GOP mailings to constituents on a variety of subjects and of imposing uneven requirements on the minority party’s mail.

    Somebody call the waaaambulance.

    The Franking Commission consists of 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans

    Here’s a quote from Jazz’s “Roll Call” link that explains how it works:

    Kyle Anderson, a spokesman for the House Administration Committee, which has oversight over the franking commission, said the mailings were denied because they did not comply with longstanding rules.

    “The requirements and regulations imposed by the franking commission have not changed, nor has the review process,” Anderson said. “They are designed to ensure that taxpayer funds are not used for political and partisan purposes.”

    Anderson said majority and minority staff reviewed the content of the GOP franking requests and that decisions were made in a bipartisan process.

    “It’s regrettable that some Members’ offices view the process as inconvenient, but the majority Members and staff take their responsibilities and their stewardship of taxpayer resources very seriously,” he said.

    It’s time for the Republican [politicians] to grow up and start acting like adults. Edited – added the word politicians

  • Leonidas

    Another example of Democratic Transparency and Open government. Nancy Pelosi is Tom Delay squared.

  • SteveK

    Leonidas wrote: Another example of Democratic Transparency and Open government.

    Leonidas, for once you’re right… the actions of the Franking Commission is “Another example of Democratic Transparency and Open government.”

  • While I agree with your point, Jazz, your 2006 example seems to be out of place since Republicans held control of Congress until January 3, 2007…

    Did you mean 2007?

    • Not really, Michael. That seems to be the point. Pelosi issued the letter in 2006 when the Republicans were in charge and they didn’t censor it then.

      • Okay. The way you worded it made it seem like you thought the Democrats were being hypocritical for not censoring Pelosi but now censoring Republicans.

        • Ah, Michael. Now that I read that again I can see where that could be the interpretation, sorry. No, I was simply trying to expand on the point that it seems like there was a time when the Franking Commission stuck to the whole “hall monitor” thing and made sure nobody stole stamps (regardless of which party was in the majority) but now the game has been stepped up.

  • SteveK

    repeat post removed by author

  • Perhaps in this time of the internet and TV it’s time to just kill franking. Any mail I get from my congressman just goes directly into the recycle bin anyway.

  • DLS

    “Another example of Democratic Transparency and Open government.”

    Don’t forget the address to the few defenders of the Health Care Hijinks to do Commie-style “outing” of the growing mainstream opposition to it.

    All that could be done instead and additionally by the Dems is: Bolivarian Circles and a new Alien (Non-Liberal-or-Democratic) and Sedition [sic] Act.

  • ALL:

    For some reason, comments with URLs are being filtered out and treated as SPAM. I’ve restored some but I’m contacting Disqus about this.

  • Leonidas

    T_Steel

    Thanks for the heads up, it has been a bit irritating. I did find a workaround for now though, make a post and enter it without any URL links, then go back and edit and place them in, seems to work for me.

    • SteveK

      Leonidas… is there a reason that you have not replied to questions regarding your link to questionable organizations?

      Every time anyone questions your obviously industry based talking points you simply ignore them and move to another thread.

      Are you a paid lobbyist for the Health Care Industry?

  • Leonidas

    @ SteveK

    Nope no commenctions with the insurance industry whatsoever, I’m also not a memnber of the Klu Klux Klan, The Nazi Party, the Minutmen, Militant Islam, the Black Panters, and the Religious Right.

    Hope that answered your question and possible future questions.

    Now that those have been anwered, exactly what questions have I not answered? I don’t see any in this thread, do you?

    • SteveK

      Leonidas wrote: Nope no commenctions with the insurance industry whatsoever…

      What’s a “commenctions”? Again… Are you a paid lobbyist for the Health Care Industry?

      Leonidas wrote: “I’m also not a memnber of the Klu Klux Klan, The Nazi Party, the Minutmen, Militant Islam, the Black Panters, and the Religious Right.”

      1. Nice non sequitur. 2. I never thought you were. 3. It appears that your grouping the Health Care / Insurance Industry in with a lot of unsavory folk. 🙂

      Leonidas wrote: “Now that those have been anwered, exactly what questions have I not answered?”

      You’ve referenced AEI twice and I’ve asked you twice why you think anything said by the American Enterprise Institute (nee PNAC) should be given a serious seat at any table. I’ve also asked why you insist on distorting the facts regarding knee replacement wait times in Canada.

  • Leonidas

    @ SteveK

    What’s a “commenctions”? Again… Are you a paid lobbyist for the Health Care Industry?

    Its a typo , should have been connections. And again no. Are you a paid lobbyist for the spelling nazi movement. =P

    You’ve referenced AEI twice and I’ve asked you twice why you think anything said by the American Enterprise Institute (nee PNAC) should be given a serious seat at any table

    Not on this thread, search the thread for AEI first mention was in the post you made. Anyhow, maybe in another thread you did ask and I missed it, so I’ll answer now. Its up to you wwhether or not you give it “a serious seat” but I offer the argument they make, you can either address the argument, or apply an Ad Hominem without looking at it, or you can ignore it its up to you. Really depends if you wish to consider a different point of view, attack the source, or not take time to do either. I consider options 1 and 3 to be perfectly valid but I don’t accept option 2 to be, so far that is what I see in your posts.

    I’ve also asked why you insist on distorting the facts regarding knee replacement waittimes in Canada.

    Because they are not distortions my claims were from the official site of the Canadian government using their most recent data. If you have a problem with that I suggest you contact the Canadian government.
    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/qual/acces/wait-attente/index-eng.php
    “Health Canada is the Federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health, while respecting individual choices and circumstances.”

    I hope this answered your questions and puts to rest your baseless assertions.

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