For the uninitiated, franking is the privilege given to members of Congress that allows them to send mail to their constituents for free by signing their name in the upper right hand corner, where a stamp normally be placed.
Franking is one of the reasons that incumbents are hard to unseat. While franking cannot be used for campaign purposes (in much the same way that campaign calls and work cannot be done from a congressional office), incumbents can tout their accomplishments to everyone in their district for free, while challengers have to pay the costs associated with material creation and postage.<
Frank Wolf has used franking in the past more heavily in election years
The blog quotes the Leesburg Today article:
The numbers show that franked mail from that office goes up in election years. Wolf spent $90,417 in 2002, an election year, but only $73,304 the next year. In the next election year, 2004, Wolf spent $115,881 on franked mail. In 2005, when there was no election, the amount dropped to $66,285. As of May 23, Wolf had spent $34,232 this year.
“The format has changed,” said Wolf Chief of Staff Dan Scandling, noting that previously the 26-year congressman sent a single annual mailing. That mailing was made in a newspaper-style format and offered all of the congressman’s votes for the year. The new format includes 8.5-inch by 11-inch glossy, full-color, card-stock mailers that closely resemble the campaign mailers typically seen during election cycles. The new format also includes sending press releases to individual homes.
To summarize, Frank Wolf has been using his congressional franking privileges to send out glossy, full-colr, card-stock mailers touting his "accomplishments" to voters in his district. Now, it's an election year, and Wolf's cranking up the franking once again. Why? Perhaps because he's running scared of Judy Feder? Or maybe he just feels insecure about his record on health care, such as his votes against reauthorizing and expanding SCHIP to cover millions more kids (there's another vote today on overriding President Bush's veto -- no mention in his glossy mailer!)? Or maybe all the glossiness is merely a smokescreen for the fact that all Wolf has to offer on healthcare are same old tired solutions to health care problem that haven’t solved the problem in his 27 years in office?
Anyway, enjoy the rest of the franked mailer from Frank. Heck, you might as well enjoy it; you paid for it with YOUR tax dollars! :)