Congressman Doug Lamborn is being targeted over mailers he’s sending to residents in his district. Businessman Robert Blaha, who is trying to unseat Lamborn in a GOP primary, filed a formal complaint with the House of Representatives Committee on Administration, alleging that Lamborn is using taxpayer money to pay for campaign literature.
The complaint admits that the mailer does not explicitly ask for political support, but accuses Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, of breaking House rules five times in the piece, to further his re-election campaign. The complaint alleges that the mailer exceeded regulation limits for personal and party references, advertised personal accomplishments, and used political slogans twice.
This is not the first time Blaha has criticized Lamborn for his district mailers, but it is the first time he’s filed a formal complaint.
Mailers to district residents are allowed by House rules, and are paid for by the government, but are permitted only as informational services to constituents. The process is called “franking.” For example, the same mailer contains a list of bullet points written by Lamborn’s office about President Barack Obama’s 2013 federal budget request, the cost of health care, and “April 17 Tax Day Tips.”
But that’s on the back of the mailer. The front of the piece is what Blaha is upset about. It has Lamborn’s photo on one side, in the upper left corner, and written in large letters is “Most Conservative Member of Congress.” The quote is attributed to National Journal Magazine.
In a statement, Lamborn’s staff dismissed Blaha’s criticism as ignorant.
“Once again, Mr. Blaha displays his profound ignorance of Congress,” read the statement. “All franked mail pieces must be reviewed and approved by the bipartisan Franking Commission before they are sent out. This mail piece, too, was reviewed and approved by the Franking Commission to ensure that it met the required standards.”
The piece reads, “Dear Friend — for the third year in a row, National Journal Magazine has ranked me, along with a handful of others, the Most Conservative Member of Congress. Additionally, I am one of 14 House Members to earn a 100% rating for my 2011 voting record from the American Conservative Union. I am one of only five non-freshmen Members to have a 100% lifetime rating from this conservative group.”
“These rankings reflect my leadership in promoting conservative values in Washington. With every vote I take, I seriously consider how it will impact personal freedoms, taxpayers, and the overall economic strength of our country.”
“I am humbled and honored to represent you in Washington where I will continue to fight for a strong America.”
The piece also includes three bullet points about Lamborn’s accomplishments in Congress — “Fighting to open up America’s vast energy resources,” “Fighting for our troops and veterans,” and “Fighting to cut wasteful government spending.”