CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The chairman of the state Democratic Party says state Republican Party leaders are being “hypocrites” by claiming some state lawmakers are abusing their franking privileges — the free mailing services available to elected officials that are paid for with taxpayer money.

“If you’re going to try to get some political spin in election time and try to make someone look bad, the old saying my mama said (was), you don’t throw rocks or stones when you live in a glass house,” said Larry Puccio on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “Let’s talk about it all.”

From the beginning, the purpose of the franking practice has been about facilitating communications between elected officials and their constituents through the mail. The focus is usually on the work of the lawmakers — including any progress on introduced bills.

The GOP, though, is now alleging certain lawmakers targeted frequent Democratic voters with those constituent mailings prior to this year’s primary election and, because of that, crossed a line into campaign advertising.

Republicans leaders have said the most prolific mailers in the state House of Delegates were Ricky Moye (D-Raleigh) with 9,070 pieces of mail, David Walker (D-Clay) with 8,344 pieces, Jim Morgan (D-Cabell with 8,269 pieces and Justin Marcum (D-Mingo) with 7,364 pieces. In some cases, the constituent mailings sent jumped dramatically ahead of the election compared with previous years.

“It’s legal. It’s in place and you’re allowed to communicate with your constituents,” said Puccio of franking.

Republicans, he argued, use the free mailing privileges as well. He pointed to mailings from Second Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and First District Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) which together, he said, sent about $1 million in constituent mailings prior to the 2012 election year.

“This isn’t where they want to go, believe me, and McKinley wouldn’t want to get on and talk about this, nor would Capito,” Puccio said.

At this point, no ethics complaints have been filed. Those with the GOP are currently working to compare the lists of those who received the mailings to a historical voter list from the Secretary of State’s office.

bubble graphic

43

bubble graphic

Comments

  • Jimmy

    First Larry Puccio does not truly represent the Democrats in WV and is a puppet for big money, he also does not truly understand the fact that the true JFK and FDR democrats are working diligently to bring back the true party of the people values that pulled us out of a depression and established equal rights and fairness in America. Puccio is a hypocrite like Conrad Lucas is to the conservative GOP he lives a very liberal lifestyle while beating a drum for GOP moral and Christian values that would be very disturbed to learn that MR Lucas is not truly living those values. Both Lucas and Puccio need to go and be replaced so the true Democrats and Republicans in WV so we can have solid debates on ossues that truly pertain to our lives. Unless we are going to let Puccio talk about his Greenbrier deals and Lucas talk about Gay Marriage. Until then know both are hypocrites and we the people of both parties need to clean this mess up by replacing them.

    • Lisa

      WOW Jimmy you hit the nail right on the head! That's exactly what I was thinking both these state party chairs are horrible and obviously do not represent their party values.

      • Justin

        Ok, now I see where the GOP made a point of pointing out three gay candidates in the Gazette. Why pray tell has Conrad Lucas not came out of the closet? He supports the ridicule and degradation of homosexuals but is one himself. How hypocritical is that?

  • TB

    Did Puccio ever discuss the Gateway Connector in Fairmont? Better send out some mailers!

  • Bob

    I'm not sure how I feel about this but one thing is for sure, both parties do it. It's not illegal so why would one side be so critical of the other? Was legislation introduced to curtail it by those that want to criticize?

    I've got to agree with Mr. Puccio on this one, "don't throw rocks if you live in a glass house"

  • Tony Matthews

    GOP vs Dems on mailing to us on tax dollars.

    I bet $300,000 that both sides do it. Anyone want to take me up on that bet?

  • Ken

    Pot meet kettle.

    This is dumb. They both do it so why is one trying to accuse the other?

  • D.B.

    Puccio is grasping at straws.

    He knows that someone within the WV Democrat Party staff gave micro-targeted, highly partisan list of ONLY likely democrat voters who were mailed pieces that are tantamount to a reelection tool.

    Coincidence that this occurred a matter of months before the Democrat Party will lose the House of Delegates for the first time since the Great Depression? Don't insult WVians intelligence Democrat Party. Your days of unchecked unethical antics are OVER.

    They're desperate and Speaker Miley gave the go ahead to try to save the ship, in part, with these mailers. Desperation will make people say anything- just listen to Larry try to lie and mislead his way out of this one...

    • Mac

      Well gee, I didn't know Democrats could even read! Even when they vote, they look for the donkey and then mark an "X"!

      • Wall E Mart

        That would be a "Rooster" not a donkey.

        When you are trying to make a group sound stupid, you may want to actually know what you are talking about....just a thought.

        • Mac

          OK- Wall-E-Mart; Let's get YOU educated!
          The Elephant for the Republicans and the Donkey for the Democrats were the creation of Political Cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902). After the Civil War the Democrats were the Southern conservative party who opposed reconstruction and supported the Jim Crow laws that were being used to obstruct the enfranchisement of the former slaves. Nast's point was that the Republicans, lead by the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, were the force of change and would be unstoppable, like an elephant, while the Dem's were the stubborn jackasses who couldn't see that their time had passed. Since that was in the 19th century most people today just see them as long standing symbols, with the original meanings long forgotten. The lesson has now been taught! Thank You!

    • Ken

      I hear what you're saying but the desperate is what the GOP looks like with this dumb charge.

      I would suggest you try to find something better to charge them with. Probably something the Republicans don't do too. Especially when the Republicans are the ones doing it the most.

      • D.B.

        Federal Franking vs. the mail the WV House Dems sent are *not even*t close to being the same. Federal franking has a whole slew of requirements that it must surpass in order to be eligible (and not to mention, legal) , one of which is NOT TARGETING HIGH PROPENSITY VOTERS OF YOUR PARTY AND YOUR ALONE.

        In essence, what I'm desperately trying to get across to you, Ken, is that the R's are not TARGETING and the D's ARE TARGETING- hence making the mailer political use of taxpayer funds. (You know, like McGraw with trinkets.) Dig?

        It's unethical use of your tax dollars- maybe you're okay with it, but I know a TON of WVians who aren't.

  • ViennaGuy

    Larry Puccio's attempt to dodge the question about the franking privilege by pointing fingers at the Republicans is tantamount to saying, "Yeah, w do it, and we make no apologies for it."

    Are you feeling a little electoral heat, Larry? Slinging mud at your political opponents doesn't help your party in the least.

    There should not be ANY franking privilege for ANYONE at ANY level of government, period.

    • Lisa

      True for both counts, both are hypocrites, one supports a party the GOP that openly opposes LBGT lifestyles while he is deeply involved with that lifestyle as are many on his staff. The other Mario Puccio is a typical greedy, money loving scrounge that absolutely has done more to hurt the people of WV than help. Neither the GOP or the Dems have solid state party leaders that truly represent the values of each party. This why I'm an independent, I used to work with Conrad but after seeing the truth I left the GOP and that situation.

    • Christy

      Pointing fingers at the Republicans and slinging mud at political opponents? This is a response article to a Republican charge.

      Unfortunately for the GOP, Puccio exposed them doing much worse than the Democrats. YIKES! Much worse.

      • ViennaGuy

        - This is a response article to a Republican charge. -

        Then why didn't he directly respond to it rather than go after Republicans? All he had to say was, "Yeah, we do it, so what?" and leave it at that.

        But no, he chose to go after the Republicans and came off as a thin-skinned whiner.

        Like I said, the franking privilege needs to be eliminated in its entirety.

      • The bookman

        Good luck making that stick. Congressional spending versus state delegates? Apples and Oranges.

        • Christy

          politicians using tax dollars = politicians using tax dollars

          • Christy

            Politicians using their franking privileges = politicians using their franking privileges

            It's all political and all part of campaigning no matter which side tries to spin it. Don't be so naive.

          • The bookman

            Congressman representing 1/3 of WV vs Delegate representing 1/100 of WV. Speaker Miley directing political activity using franking vs .......nothing! Apples to Oranges! Again, I've said numerous times I would like the privilege abolished, however, there is a difference between wasting taxpayer funds and illegal use of tax payer funds for campaigning.

  • J Lorne

    $1,000,000 on GOP mail vs about $15,000 on Democratic mail and the GOP is the one complaining? Are they insane?

    Huge OOPS on their part. They should have looked up their own numbers first.

  • proudlyconservative

    No one is outraged about the attorney general's spending on satellite uplinks? I don't see the difference.

    • Stephanie

      The difference is they want to point fingers at Democrats only.

      This is laughable. Moving on.

  • Mike

    Democratic Party, Just another term for I don't give a crap about you. I would not believe anything that comes from the mouth of any Democrat. Lets see just at the latest lie coming from the WH. I knew nothing about the VA problems. I am mad as hell. What BS. Look at what comes out of the mouth of Reid,Pelosi,Clinton, any Democrat. However the voters of this country or sheep as they really should be called continue to vote for these people. Remember you "reap what you sow" Or the best yet "its Bushes fault"

  • The bookman

    Here's an article from over a month ago that should be answered by Tim Miley. No comment is not sufficient.

    http://loganbanner.com/news/news/3267217/State-Republicans-attack-political-mailings

    "Other Democrats reported that during a heated Democrat House caucus in February, Miley and leadership urged Democrat delegates to use their “franking” privileges to “combat stories told by Republicans and the media about the protect-the-baby bill.” At the time, Democrat legislators, particularly in the coalfields, were under attack for failing to discharge a 20-week protect-the-baby bill from Perdue’s health committee. It was reported that those Democrats complained, during a caucus that is technically confidential, that they were “being murdered at home” for failing to vote pro-life on the baby bill. It was then, Democrat delegates say, that Miley urged them to “combat those allegations by using their franking privileges to communicate directly with constituents.”

    Answers?

    • Wall E Mart

      Oh you don't like Miley? That is why you are buying this stuff. Makes sense now. It's a partisan perspective.

      FYI in the rest of the non-partisan perspective world, this is dumb.

      • The bookman

        Thanks for stepping it back. No, I don't like Miley. Not because of partisan reasons, just because he is a poor leader. Both houses of the legislature were without direction, and they allowed themselves to be driven by the election, or fear of one actually. There are good people on both sides of the aisle in Charleston, it is WV after all, where even most of Democrats are Republicans, and 80% are conservatives at some level. But not all of them can lead. Miley was better as a committee man; he disappoints as speaker. IMO, of course.

        • Wall E Mart

          Well it's good you came clean about your feelings towards him.

          When people form opinions on people, they view issues in a manner that supports their feeling towards that person. Human nature really.

          This is one of those issues where your feelings are getting in the way of logic and reason.

          Instead of asking important questions regarding the issue, your mind questioned him so you could reinforce your feeling towards him.

          As far as the legislatures agenda, I'm confused as to your definition of no direction. I clearly remember a list of goals set out by the house (don't remember the senate doing one) . I remember that because of the entrepreneurship in education program they pushed and passed. I thought it was a great idea but was surprised because I've only ever seen an agenda pushed by the governor.

          I don't know if you pay that much attention to legislative issues to have seen that initially. It doesn't sound like it.

          • The bookman

            Well I appreciate the free psych evaluation, and the next time I want to know what I'm thinking, hopefully you'll be there to tell me. Enjoy this show while it lasts, as I think new leadership in the House is coming. No amount of franking can change that.

          • Wall E Mart

            Stop projecting, I was commenting on the stupidity of the idea that franking privileges were used by one party more than the other.

            You, on the other hand, do not like the Miley fellow and made this issue bigger in your mind.

            As far as the rest, it is more of the same. If you want to see bad, you will. If you want to see good, you will.

            Regardless, parties accusing the other party of using franking privileges for politics, in the realm of reason and logic, is dumb.

          • The bookman

            I say no direction in that there was never a focus of priority. The posture of the session was not a proactive, forward thinking one; it was about retreating to a safety position with the common purpose of safeguarding their majority and retention of power. This budget was forecast long ago to be short on revenue and long on obligation, yet their was no legislative will to address it, other than reliance on the Rainy Day Fund. I don't hang it all on Miley, though. Tomblin deserves the lion's share, as Manchin certainly provided a template on executive leadershiip and exacting successful 60 day sessions. I think your support of the Democrats have clouded your perspective on the session, with all due respect.

            As a citizen who dearly loves this state, I look around and see problems everywhere that this government must address, as it is their mandate to do so. Roads are crumbling, teachers are underpaid, our economy is stagnant in most places, and only growing in some locations in spite of our government, and our budget was short $150M. These are things that don't fix themselves. Is Miley and Kessler capable of providing the leadership necessary to tackle these issues? Should we only convene the legislature every other year due to the constraints of elections?

    • Wall E Mart

      Logan Banner? Your great resource of information is Logan Banner.

      Maybe because it's the Logan Banner or maybe because this is a Republican agenda that is so dumb no one wants to waste time on it to answer.

      That is probably your answer.

      • The bookman

        Oh, small regional newspapers aren't a reliable source in your view.

        So if it's obscenely false, Miley should take them to task as it paints the use of the franking privilege as a political tool as advocated by Speaker Miley. If it's true, then Conrad Lucas has a point, and Mr Miley has a problem.

        Personally I think it's all wasteful, viewed by most as junk mail, and tossed to the side. There is a difference between wasteful and illegal. That may not matter to you, but it does to me.

        • Wall E Mart

          So you believe that a GOP Chairman knows what happened in a "confidential" Democratic caucus based on an 'editorial' from a 'respected' news source like the Logan Banner written by an right leaning author? Are you really trying to build your case on that?

          • Wall E Mart

            Oh you don't like Miley? That is why you are buying this stuff. Makes sense now. It's a partisan perspective.

            FYI in the rest of the non-partisan perspective world, this is dumb.

          • The bookman

            Well, where I come from, when your credibility is called into question, you stand up and speak the truth. Unless of course, the truth looks really bad, at which point you have your aide call the reporter to find out what the questions were about, and then shrink back into the safety of your office and hope the storm blows over! No backbone, no leadership, typical Miley.

          • Wall E Mart

            You are a very gullible soul if you believe everything the partisan hacks tell you to believe.

            Miley stated "No comment"? I read it that he never bothered to call the guy back.

            Sending out letters is not new. I bet they only looked at a select moment in time instead of years and month. That is all this is boiling down to and it is a dumb. If this had been researched by reporter, I might give it more credit, but the GOP? Nope.

            Why did no one find out the GOP numbers in the House? What time periods did they look at specifically and how many years did they go back? You know these are the real questions reporters and people should ask instead of buying into a GOP memo that a rightwing commentator picked up at the Logan Banner.

          • The bookman

            Yes, actually, I do think Lucas knows what was said. Is it any wonder Miley states, "No Comment?" I don't base it on the Ron Gregory story; it is affirmed by it. The proof is in the response by the Legislators to Miley's direction, as well as the specificity of the mailings themselves. Hopefully the end result is the dissolution of the privilege to waste the taxpayer's money on junk mail.

  • Martin

    Childish diatribe.

  • sammy

    They did it. No they did it. How childish. At the end of the day, franking should outlawed. Tax dollars should never be used for political mailings, period. If you want to do a mailing use your monies from your fundraising or take it from your pocket, not mine!