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Taxpayer-funded fluff from my rep in Congress

with 2 comments

I just sent the following letter to the editor to my local paper.

———————————-

To the editor:

Once again, my representative in Congress, the Honorable John R. “Randy” Kuhl, has sent me a four-page, four-color, eight-photograph “Legislative Report” extolling “a tremendously busy and successful year in Congress.”

This report, “prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense,” provides little concrete evidence on how Rep. Kuhl voted in this congressional session. As such, this “report” serves more as public relations vehicle for a congressman seeking re-election than as an effort by a responsible elected public official to fully and fairly inform his constituents of his activities.

The “report” is less than forthcoming in several statements.

Rep. Kuhl claims that “gasoline prices have settled back to pre-hurricane levels.” The federal Energy Information Administration, however, said March 27 that U.S. motorists paid $2.498 a gallon on average the previous week and that pump prices are 34.5 cents higher than a year ago.

Rep. Kuhl claims that “there has been strength nationally in job growth.” The Economic Policy Institute, however, says that for 2004 (the most recent year for which records are available), wage growth has not kept up with job growth. Media family income has remained stagnant even while jobs have increased. So there’s more jobs, but less pay. Who benefits from the “strength” Rep. Kuhl claims? Not middle-class working folk.

Rep. Kuhl claims that “Congress provided 50 percent more funding for home energy assistance for lower income households … this winter.” But program, called LIHEAP, has been a political whipping boy for Congress and has never been fully funded. Last year, Congress put in $2 billion. But Alaskan Sen. Ted Stevens yanked it out in a fit of pique after lawmakers voted down drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Saying Congress increased LIHEAP funding by 50 percent is ambiguous as best.

Rep. Kuhl rightly claims credit for the money he’s brought into the district through appropriations earmarks. But his “legislative report” does not inform constituents of any specific votes he made as District 29 representative. Why not? After all, voters are supposed to judge congressmen and women on their performance. What is his, and why doesn’t his taxpayer-funded “report” detail his record? Not all his constituents have Internet access to his government Web site.

If you wish to see how Rep. Kuhl says he performs, visit the “recent votes” section of his Web site at: http://kuhl.house.gov/News/DocumentQuery.aspx?DocumentTypeID=400.

For more information on his voting record and campaign finances, visit: http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=BS022193
and http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/k000364/.

To find out how much campaign cash he has on hand as of Dec. 31 ($420,768) and how he raised it, visit: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?CID=N00026087&cycle=2006.

These sites provide information that our elected representatives, such as Rep. Kuhl, should be providing us. He should be reminded that his constituents are tired of his fluff-filled public relations efforts carried out at taxpayers’ expense.

Dennis M. Wilkins
Hinsdale

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 31, 2006 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Beautiful. This is valuable public service. This is journalism.

    felixwas

    April 1, 2006 at 2:56 am

  2. Bravo! Now let’s see how many in the constituancy actually get what you are saying.

    ultimate_seeker

    April 1, 2006 at 6:58 pm


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