Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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No First Amendment for Capitol Hill GOP

An important element of the Republican success in the revolution of 1994 (the "Contract with America") was the Democrats' exemption of Congress from federal laws.

Now comes the news that Democrats on the franking committee are censoring Republican mail to their constituents. The Democrats maintain that the Republican mailings violate the non-partisan rule for franked mailings.

"Cap and tax" was not the only phrase that was barred by the franking commission.

In addition to demanding changes to terminology about the Democratic energy bill, a proposed e-newsletter from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) was returned to his office with notes asking for detailed citations to back up passages critical of Democratic policies. In one instance, the commission asked that the word "Democratic" be removed from the text and "majority" be put in its place.

"The franking commission is not there to fact-check," Franks said. The commission "is not there to tell us what our own vernacular should be."

Franks said he was also asked to remove his reference to the stimulus package as the "so-called stimulus."

Franking rules stipulate that taxpayer-funded mailings cannot be used for campaign purposes. The rules also state that comments about policy or legislation "should not be partisan, politicized or personalized" and should avoid "excessive use of party labels."

But Franks said that by barring Republicans from using phrases such as "government-run health care" in communication with their constituents, Democrats "truly diminish free speech itself."

Categories > Congress

Discussions - 4 Comments

The thought criminals must be stopped or they will poison the life force of the revolution with their backwards thinking.

I have seen the change and there is no hope.

Can you imagine if the Republicans did this to a Democrat mailing? We would never hear the end of it. Uh oh! Did I excessevely use party labels?

If I understand correctly.. they are only being told what is acceptible when using tax payer funded communications in their office of Senator or Congressional Rep. I agree completely - I don't care if it is a Dem or a Republican that is sending out communications from their "office" - they shouldn't be campaign type messaging. This isn't a first ammendment violation. The interested parties are FREE to send out the messages using a different method. I don't want campaign or partisan marketing crap in my newsletters from elected officials' offices. They can save that for their campaign or PAC newsletters and communications.

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