U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has violated the spirit of a federal rule prohibiting mass mailings with public money to constituents in the 90 days before an election.
In doing so, he’s used taxpayer dollars to campaign for re-election.
Pearce’s congressional office recently sent out more than 4,800 letters to constituents about the “scourge” of methamphetamine use, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The letters touted Pearce’s own efforts to deal with the problem.
So, what’s the problem? Read on:
A federal rule prohibits House members from sending out mass mailings of 500 pieces or more in the 90 days before an election. The intent is obviously to keep House members from abusing taxpayer money.
Pearce found a loophole, and he disregarded the intent of the law.
Pearce actually sent 11 different letters, not one, and mailed them out in batches of fewer than 500, his communications director, David Host, told the Journal. The 11 letters were identical through the first five paragraphs. The final paragraph differed from town to town to reflect the date and time Pearce would appear there.
So, Host told the Journal, he sent, for example, 478 letters to Alamogordo, 480 to Silver City and 485 to Artesia. According to the Journal, Republican and Democratic members of the Committee on House Administration, which includes the Franking Commission that oversees this sort of thing, told the Journal that Pearce appears to have complied with the rule.
That’s bad enough, but according to the NY Times Election Guide, Pearce raised $1,338,879 for this race, and has $624,328 cash on hand. Why does a sitting U.S. congressman — who’s leading in the polls and has more than half-a-million dollars in the bank — need to use taxpayer money for campaign purposes?