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.