Jeff Merkley calls out Gordon Smith for urban/rural doubletalk

Last month, Senator Gordon Smith sent a taxpayer-funded mailer to Democratic voters in the Portland metro area. Among other things, the official newsletter touted his work "advancing legislation with Senator Hillary Clinton". (H/T: The mailer was first posted by Beaver Boundary.)

Today, in advance of his trip to Eastern Oregon, Jeff Merkley sent a copy of that mailing to Eastern Oregon Republicans - along with a note of his own. An excerpt:

The enclosed brochure was mailed from Smith’s U.S. Senate office at taxpayer expense. In it he touts work he claims to have done with two prominent Democrats: our other Senator, Ron Wyden, and Senator Hillary Clinton. Smith likes to tell people in Portland that he works closely with Hillary Clinton. Does he talk about his work with prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton when he’s in your town?

That isn’t the way I will run my campaign. I’ll stand by my principles, no matter what. I won’t pretend to be anyone other than who I am, no matter which part of the state I might be visiting. That’s what a Senator for all Oregonians owes to the people he represents.

See the Smith mailer and read the rest at the Merkley blog.

We're not sure here at BlueOregon about the congressional franking rules, but sending a taxpayer-funded mailing targeted to voters of one party in one part of the state wouldn't seem to be allowed under U.S. Senate rules, or maybe federal law. Can our readers help?

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Where's the HAT TIP to Beaver Boundary for this? %^>

  • BiPartisanship (unverified)
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    Is bi-partisanship bad now? Only on Blue Oregon I guess.

  • (Show?)

    Senate franking is governed by rule XL (40) of Senate administrative rules. There may be more than one violation of this rule. Unfortunately to get the information from the Secretary of the Senate you have to get it in person. I do however have a friend in DC that is getting the information to me. For more information on Franking rules and this story you can check out my new blog Forward Oregon.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    More like bi-facedness. The guy who votes with Bush 9 out of 10 times talks this way to his base, but now this way to Portlanders.

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie -- I've now added that. Good catch. Thanks!

  • (Show?)

    Do we know where all the mailer went? Our household didn't get one, and we're in the Portland metro area.

    I wonder if we were removed from the mailing list because there is a Democrat and a Republican in the household.

  • LT (unverified)
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    It seems to me that if the rules don't specify a franked document goes to a household of Rs or of Ds or of one of each or of NAVs, then it isn't a general interest informing the public sort of document, but rather a campaign document.

    Good for Jeff for standing up to this nonsense.

  • (Show?)

    Jenni, it's hard to know. Which tells you even more that it's likely the piece was targeted like a campaign mailer.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Well now ain't that special? Did any of you watch cspan tonight? They were replaying a round-table of Presidential candidates' economic advisors. Mrs. Clinton's was making me vomit at every turn, first touting her wonderful collaboration with McCain and later, just before my boot went through the television, her fabulous collaboration with Gordon Smith. Quite a triangulating love fest those two are engaged in. VOMIT.

  • (Show?)

    Kari: Exactly. Because if we look at several of the common sense mailing lists, none of them apply.

    Many will send mailers to those who have written their office. I've written Smith's office plenty of times (actually received a response earlier this year on one topic - DC's voting rights), and I didn't receive a copy of it.

    You may also target a geographic area because an issue affects them. That doesn't apply either.

    Or you send to every household or every household with a voter. Like the nice mailer I received from State Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson.

    It's definitely looking like there was a very precise formula used to send out these mailers, which shows they're obviously a campaign mailer and not a legislative mailer.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Why is Hillary Clinton allowing Gordon Smith to use her (with publicly funded direct mail) to boost his Senatorial campaign? He voted with Bush 90% of the time. What say you Mrs. Clinton? Did you approve the use of your name in this mailer? Are you a tacit or outright endorser of Smith for Senate?

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    Kari Jenni: I should have the list of everyone that was sent the mailer sometime early next week. Its crazy that in this world you have to actually go in person to the Secretary of the Senate's office to get these records.

  • (Show?)

    bdunn:

    Thanks. I'm definitely curious to see how they targeted the mailing.

  • Anon (unverified)
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    Sweet.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I commend Jeff Merkley on his calling out Gordon Smith for urban/rural doubletalk. I'm also curious to know if Merkley has made a statement on Gordon Smith's vote to approve Michael Mukasey as Attorney General.

  • anon (unverified)
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    backbeat12 suggests that Mrs. Clinton should call Smith on his use of her name in his mail piece. That would be true if the piece in question were paid for by campaign funds (for instance, when Jim Torrey used photos of him and Bill Clinton in '06, Clinton gave him a very public smack down and boosted Walker's campaign in a large way). It would also be true if he asserted anything that was false.

    This piece was an accurate, though broadly misrepresentative, taxpayer-funded, targetted mailing, which is precisely what makes it so interesting.

    The issue isn't whether Clinton, Wyden, or Mt. Hood should criticize Smith for using their names. The issues, I think, are 1) why does Senator Smith only feel comfortable sharing this information on a selective basis, and 2) whether this sort of political targetting with a franked piece is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Bill, he did here Thanks, Kevin.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Seems to me that the targeting formula for the mailing should be public record and subject to a FOIA request.

    Anyone want to get it?

  • jraad (unverified)
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    in the Franken, Gordon Smith says he is working with Ron Wyden on health care. Anyone know what this is about? Does he support Wyden's plan?

  • (Show?)
    <h2>Any one active in the Clinton campaign? They should get Hilary to go on TV and thank Sen. Smith for supporting her initiatives in the Senate. Better yet get a photo of her giving him a great big hug. That will drive Lars and friends bananas and may help get a right wing 3rd party in the general.</h2>
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