CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said she has always followed the rules of franking — the free mailing privileges available to elected officials for communications with their constituents.

Larry Puccio, state Democratic Party chair, has continually pointed to her use of franking, along with First District Congressman David McKinley’s (R-W.Va.) use of it, since state Republican Party leaders first raised the issue.

The GOP claims certain Democrats in the state House of Delegates spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on franking prior to the primary election and that, in some cases, the mailings were targeted to specific constituents — those most likely to vote.

Because of that, they’ve argued taxpapers paid for what amounted to campaign advertisements.

Capito, a U.S. Senate candidate, was asked about the issue on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“The rules in Congress on franking say that you cannot frank 90 days before an election.  You can’t send anything out 90 days before a general or a primary election, so that’s six months out of every other year that there’s no franking,” she said.

Additionally, Capito said it’s been at least two years since she used the option and, when her office did send out mailings, she said she complied with what’s allowed.  She says franking is about information, not elections.

“You’re not allowed to pick and choose, when you frank at the national level, on who you’re going to send your mail to and it appears as though the Democrats were sending mail to Democrat voters who had voted frequently,” Capito said.

“That’s a violation, in my opinion.”

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

In his response, Puccio called the controversy surrounding franking “the perfect case of the toad calling the frog ugly.”

“I don’t know if I’m the frog or the toad or whatever, but I don’t appreciate that,” Capito said.

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  • Kelly

    Oh, really, Mrs. Capito? You are not being truthful. I am a registered Independent voter and you made sure to contact me several years ago just before the election with a mailer detailing all the work or lack thereof you were doing in DC. I was targeted by you along with many others most likely.

    Hey, I have a suggestion for you... Since you voted against Equal Pay for women... how about you take a pay cut of about a 1/3 since well you know male members of congress work so much harder than you. Better yet, try living on the minimum wage you have voted against raising. In fact, why not ensure all members of congress be paid for the hours on the job meaning when you are voting and in committee.

    • The bookman

      You tell her Kelly!

      BTW, thanks for being specific as to When she mailed you, and whether it was Direct Mail paid for by campaign funds, which is allowed, and franking, which she specifically explained was not allowed. You see campaign literature would be marked as such, Paid for by the Capito for Congress Committee. Franking would look differently, when used according to the rules.

  • Sammy Johnson

    After reading this (1) Lucas was right (2) Delegate Perdue is still a liar (3) Larry Puccios effort to muddy the water and shift blame.from the house delegates was based on a bogus and fabricated claim. If Joe Manchin his boss had been involved he would come up with a better diversion (4) Nancy Guthrie and the other delegates who used the public's money to increase their mailings right before contested primary races should reimburse the state from their campaign funds and make a public apology to the public.

    • The bookman

      +1. I would also add that in today's electronic world, distribution of government information through franking is terribly inefficient, expensive, an ineffective. We are an in demand information society, and those efforts to inform should be directed to those platforms. The franking privilege is obviously easily abused, and should be shelved with the savings realized to the taxpayer.

  • Ricardo

    As soon as the tax payers smarten up and start sending these "elected officials" home after one term, they'll stop worrying so much about being re - elected and more about making a difference for our country.

  • Bob

    Just to clarify, your the toad.

  • Working Person

    They are all crooks.

  • who

    just another example of taxpayers GETTING FRANKED by the govt

  • Steve

    She does it, he does it, they do it.

  • sammy

    Franking should be outlawed period, no matter what side of the fence you are on. Stop using my tax dollars to benefit your political career. I don't care who you are.

    • ViennaGuy