CHARLESTON, W. Va. — West Virginia Republicans are accusing state House Democrats of abusing their mailing privileges and taxpayer money.

State politicians have the ability to send mail to their constituents using taxpayer money with the premise it not be used for personal, political gains. The purpose is to harbor an environment of open communication between the statehouse and the people. However, after analyzing the mailings leading up to the recent primary election, the GOP is crying foul.

“We have the state Democrat party providing lists of frequent voters leading up to an election and those frequent voters were the only ones who received the campaign literature,” Conrad Lucas, West Virginia Republican Party Chairman said while a guest on Tuesday’s MetroNews Talkline. “Let’s say, in some of these cases, where folks had contested primaries, they only mailed to Democrats.”

One House Democrat, Delegate Don Perdue, refuted the claim on the program when he said his personal letter was sent in the original spirit of the rule.

“My letter was sent to emphasize the successes by collaboration. I think I used the personal pronoun ‘I’ in it once and I certainly didn’t send a picture. I’ve seen myself.”

After a regular legislative session laden with issues, some criticized the group as a “do-nothing House.” Perdue said he wished to remind voters both sides of the isle worked together to tackle as many problems as they could.

When addressing the charge of only sending these letters to known frequent voters, it came down to targeting the demographic the message would most likely reach.

“Those are the people who are most engaged,” Perdue said. “They’re the ones that are most likely to pay attention and to be conversant enough with the issues to appreciate being delivered some communication on them.”

However, Lucas believed the Democrats crossed the line this year in order to block a Republican takeover of the House in the upcoming election.

“There’s a huge difference between regular constituent correspondence and updating constituents and then, in this situation, where you’re only targeting voters in weeks leading up to a primary election with lists prepared by a political entity.”

Perdue maintained there was no wrongdoing and said Republicans are grandstanding in order to gain an edge in the election.

“If Mr. Lucas would have his way, we don’t communicate at all,” he said. “It is a fine line, there’s no question, but by the same token, it just depends upon the message.”

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  • ShinnstonGuy

    It should be added that when you email a Congressman or Senator you get a response, either via mail or email. When you send an email to a WV state legislator, you get nothing. Only once did one respond, and that was Ron Fragale (D-Harrison). The rest never send a thing. How responsive is that to the people?

  • Martin

    Childish diatribe.

  • vashti

    sounds like a tempest in a teapot to me. i have recieved a legislative update from two of my (democratic) representatives for years after the session. it would of course make sense that people who have lobbied or frequently contacted their legislator would be on a list of the folks who would recieve those mailings. it would make sense that in a state that heavily favors democrats in registration that there would be more democrats than republicans who receive the mailings. i try to keep up to date and informed on the workings of thelegislature and i appreciate recieving the mailings. i would not mind getting them from republicans either. it would balance out the information.
    if the republican party is really concerned about franking privileges they should look into Rep McKinley's mailings. He is the franking king in the house after having campaigned so heavily against it. i beleive he was the third highest user of the franking privilege in his second year as a representative spending roughly $225,000 if i remember correctly.
    at any rate i don't see this as a huge issue particularly in the primary. i am not quite sure how that hurts republicans.

  • Gary Karstens

    Mean old Republicans!

  • jay zoom

    if there was something illegal with this string the guilty up. if not do something in Charleston that will benefit the people of West Virginia instead of trying to stir up crap because its an election year and republicans are behind in the count. they don't even have enough ambition to get out and vote. how many pieces of mail has Mr. Lucas mailed out if he is allowed at tax payer expense.

  • I'm honest at least

    Party lines do not matter as long as we elect based on money we will continue to see crooks on both sides.

  • Randy

    I bet as a group they are spending less on postage than old A James did trying to line up teenage boys. Bet this comment gets pulled.

  • The bookman

    The democrats are utilizing McGraw like tactics, using the taxpayers dime to campaign. I have a solution!

    End the practice! No taxpayer funded communication. Use the office holder's campaign funds to cover mailing expenses, as it should be. The Republicans should call for the end of the program so that they may not take advantage of such practices to retain a majority in the event they gain one, and force the Democrats to put up or shut up. What a shallow argument Perdue offers, as though the voter is below him. Of course it is campaigning, and pandering for votes.

  • Richard

    There is only two reasons to be a democrat you are either a criminal or just stupid.

    • WVRocks

      I thought those were the qualifications to be a Republican. Go figure.

      • RightOnRight

        Hence the stupid part.

        • Randy

          Good one.