"It [franking] allows members to publish and mail out official newsletters as part of their taxpayer-covered expenditures (The word “frank” is derived from the French word “franc,” meaning free, as in frankness of speech)."
"Taylor, a Republican from Brevard who has represented 15 Western North Carolina counties for 16 years, has sent out eight franking pieces this year, according to Richard Landon, professional staff member at the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, better known as the Franking Commission. Many members average 30 or 40 pieces a year, if not more.
“There are members who may have 200 franks,” Landon said. “In my opinion, for a guy who’s supposed to be in a tough race, that’s nothing.”
"Franking Commission rules mandate that no mass mailings (those of 500 pieces or more) go to the post office past Aug. 9."
"This summer Taylor has sent out a three-page slick touting his accomplishments, as well as one-page pieces about Medicare and immigration.
Ironically, when Taylor first campaigned for Congress in 1988, he took the incumbent, Democrat Jamie Clark, to task for a congressional newsletter Taylor labeled “campaign propaganda.” Taylor claimed Clark had intentionally mailed it during the election season. At that time, such newsletters could not be mailed out within 60 days of an election.
“With a wink and a nod congressmen send it in the last day, and somehow it does not get out until much closer to the election,” Taylor told the Citizen-Times in September 1988. “If we analyze the articles, we find nothing but misleading political propaganda.”
"Franking is paid for out of the “Member’s Representational Allowance,” or MRA —essentially the office’s budget to cover payroll, office supplies, travel, computers and other expenses.
All 435 members of the House receive the MRA, with the total figure usually changing from year to year. Taylor’s MRA for the current fiscal year is $1,323,830, according to information on file with the Legislative Resource Center, part of the U.S. House of Representatives Clerk’s Office.
In the nonelection years of 2005 and 2003, Taylor sent mailings with free postage totaling $588 and $18,522, respectively. In 2004 and 2002 — both election years — the totals came in at $111,520 and $45,304, respectively. But he also mailed heavily in 2001, receiving $59,221 in free postage."
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