Monday, June 13, 2016

BREAKING: "Small Government Outsider" Paul Gosar Shows He's a Big Government Insider

Conservative Republicans don't always agree with the Phoenix New Times - or with Stephen Lemons, for that matter. However, as proved, in large part, by Lemons' takedown of former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in 2014, his reporting at times exposes Republicans who lack honesty, integrity, and a desire for accountability and transparency with how they use their elected offices.

Lemons' latest crusade focuses on Paul Gosar's rampant and extravagant use of franking materials to stretch his campaign dollars to voters throughout his district. Franking materials within the bounds laid out by Congressional guidelines are permissible, but there is a point where these taxpayer-funded mailers cross the line from constituent correspondence to re-election propaganda.

Gosar's mailers do, in fact, cross that line - and then some. From reports throughout the district, there were at least two mailers sent out from Gosar's Congressional office to constituents, including this one that was tailored to Yuma County constituents.

Two things are striking about this mailer. 

The first being that Gosar purposely included a picture of Yuma County Republican Chairman Jonathan Lines on this mailer sent to Yuma County voters. Official franking materials are supposed to be strictly non-partisan, yet there would be little way for the Franking Commission in Washington DC to know exactly who Jonathan Lines is to Republicans in his county. Many Republicans in this county would know exactly who Jonathan Lines is, and might even make the connection that Lines is endorsing Gosar (even though Gosar is being primaried this cycle). Gosar shows, with one picture, that he knows the insider games of maximizing the value these franking materials in a critical election year.

(Not to mention that Gosar also chose a picture that included a picture of Attorney General Mark Brnovich - a statewide elected official, who commands significant and positive name ID thoughout the county. General Brnovich cannot be happy about being dragged into a blatantly partisan, misuse of taxpayer dollars.)

Second, Gosar included a blurb from FreedomWorks, highlighting his service in the U.S. House of Representatives. How this section made it past the Franking Commission is beyond our comprehension. FreedomWorks is a think tank based out of Washington DC, that is primarily focused on promoting Republican legislators and candidates around the country. Liberals wouldn't appreciate this section on the mailer, nor would independents.

But Republicans would! And that again calls into question Gosar's intended audience for this mailer and who these mailers were actually sent out to in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District.

Were these mailers legal? Probably. 

Were the mailers the best use of taxpayer dollars? No.

Were the mailers a desperate attempt to add to Gosar's campaign coffers? You bet!

Were these mailers proof that Gosar plays the Washington DC insider as well or better than many of his colleagues in the House? Absolutely!

Just because something is permissible, doesn't mean it should be done. Paul Gosar should know better than to pull this trick out of his hat to enhance his re-election chances, and in an election year where Washington DC insiders are being given the middle finger by the vast majority of American voters, Paul Gosar just put his constituents on notice - on notice to consider him as one of the insiders who need to be voted out of office and replaced with public servants who answer to the people who elected them, and who will do their jobs with complete accountability and transparency.

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