Thursday, July 31, 2014

Halter yowls about Lamborn's taxpayer funded mailing

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 3:50 PM

click to enlarge Irv Halter on the campaign trail. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Irv Halter on the campaign trail.
On Monday, July 21, the Gazette reported that Rep. Doug Lamborn had missed a bunch of meetings on the Veterans Affairs Committee. That afternoon, retired Maj. Gen. Irv Halter, a Democrat trying to unseat the four-term congressman, called a news conference to blast the Republican for missing 58 percent of those hearings over an 18-month period.

Five days later, Lamborn sent a mailing to constituents saying, "As you know, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently failing to care for our veterans in a number of ways."

He goes on to say he's the second most senior Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and is "working hard to ensure that these scandals are addressed so they don't happen again."

"I am always standing by to help veterans in the Pikes Peak region," he writes.

Then the letter lists all the great things Lamborn has done to help get to the bottom the VA scandal, such as being in touch with local leaders of veterans' groups, and other accomplishments. Read the full letter here:

Ethan Susseles, Halter's campaign manager, passed on this comment from Halter: "This type of political grandstand is emblematic of Washington politicians, particularly Congressman Lamborn. First he skips almost 60% of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee meetings, then he wastes our money telling the voters in our district about the great job he is doing."

Susseles goes on to point how that Lamborn has spent more than $400,000 on taxpayer-funded mail to constituents, called franked mail, since he took office in 2007. Susseles says that spending breaks down this way:

2007: $135,606
2008: $103,377
2009: $51,248
2010: $56,918
2011: $20,081
2012: $38,062
Total: $405,202

Susseles also notes that in 2012, Lamborn voted against a bill that would have curtailed franked mail spending by 10 percent so that members could help cut the deficit by cutting their own spending.

Lawmakers are barred from sending franked mail to constituents within 90 days of an election. That means that Lamborn can't send such mail after Aug. 6. The general election, in which the five-county Congressional District 5 voters will decide the race, is Nov. 4.

We've asked Lamborn or his representatives for a comment. If and when we hear back, we'll circle back with his comments.

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