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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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