Did Congressman Turner Mis-Use The Franking Privilege? DDN Asked to Investigate

I got a nice e-mail from DDN reporter Jessica Wehrman in response to my e-mail about Congressman Mike Turner’s impeachment vote and about his use of the franking privilege to print and mail literature to voters in the 3rd District.

In my original e-mail, I questioned whether Turner used the franking privilege to target different geographic regions with different literature — a practice widely used in campaigns, but, it seems to me, a practice that could hardly be justified as a proper use of the franking privilege, especially during a reelection campaign. The franking privilege, using government money to send literature to constituents, I’m sure, has rules regulating its use. Targeting geographic regions with different literature — depending on the region’s economic or political status — is a campaign tactic. It would seem that this would be a good question — Did Congressman Turner violate franking rules? — for an investigative reporter to look into, and I’m hoping that Ms Wehrman might take up the challenge.

Wehrman replied in her e-mail that Turner’s opposition, Jane Mitakidas, in fact, made the same accusation, that Turner, “does send different pieces to different geographic regions of the district.” I’m wondering if Ms Wehrman will research an article about Turner’s use of the franking privilege and will print her findings in the DDN (?)

Jessica Wehman’s e-mail to me:

Hey, Mike,
I’m on vacation for a few days but will be returning later this week. I’ll be glad to e-mail you back in detail then, but let me say off the top of my head that I think I wrote something about the impeachment article, and I think Turner’s explanation for that vote was not because he wanted Bush impeached, but I think (if I remember correctly) he wanted to send it to Judiciary where they could effectively bury it in committee. I think that was what he said, but I’ll try to look it up when I get back.

I hadn’t heard of the propeller franking piece. I know his opponent said that he does send different pieces to different geographic regions of the district. The House disclosure doesn’t say exactly where he sends which particular piece, so without getting it from his office I don’t think I could tell you which areas get what.

Hope that helps….
Jessica Wehrman

My response to Jessica:
I can’t find any record of DDN printing a story about Turner’s impeachment vote. Maybe, at this point, since the story is getting old, there isn’t a story worth reporting. But the fact is, Kucinich, himself, made the motion to send the impeachment resolution to the Judiciary Committee and all Democrats voted “Yes.” Turner was one of nine Republicans who voted “Yes,” and the action of these nine Republicans by Daily Kos and other blogs was described as “breaking ranks.” I saw one internet article that referred to these nine Republicans, who voted “Yes,” as RHINO’s (Republican in Name Only). I don’t think this is how Turner wants to be identified, and so, I wonder if Turner simply mis-voted? After all, the votes of the nine Republicans were not needed since all Democrats supported the vote. Regardless, it seems to me that Turner’s surprising vote to back the Kucinich resolution is of sufficient importance that Turner should have been called upon to explain his vote. I believe that there should have been an article about the matter in the DDN, and I can’t find a record of such an article.

The use of the franking privilege during an election year, I feel, should be more thoroughly reported. It should be reported how many pieces of literature were sent, at what cost, etc. Explaining the advantage the franking privilege gives incumbents is a topic your readers should be informed about; it is a topic well worth an article. The literature I received from Congressman Turner (I live in Kettering) starts, “Now is the time to reduce our dependence on foreign oil …”, and has the picture of Turner superimposed on a picture of a scene showing huge electricity producing windmills. The literature that I received from Turner sounds like a different piece of literature from what your article described. Sending different literature to different voters, of course, is an accepted campaign strategy — but since this literature was paid for by using the franking privilege, it seems to me, Turner should be called upon to explain his actions. I posted this article, “Dayton Daily News Should Do In-Depth Reporting About Congressman Mike Turner,” on DaytonOS


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One Response to Did Congressman Turner Mis-Use The Franking Privilege? DDN Asked to Investigate

  1. Brian says:

    Are you saying he should explain why he sent out campaign literature? Maybe I’m slow today but I don’t get it. DDN is a liberal shit-rag already, so I don’t think more articles picking on a Republican candidate is necessary. There are plenty of websites built for that. Better be careful what you wish for anyway.

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