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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bennett Slams Dent Over Congressional Mailers . . . Again

Does LV congressional candidate Sam Bennett think we all have bad memories?

On August 13, I published a Bennett news release complaining about a "6-page, color, glossy 'energy update'" that Congressman Charlie Dent mailed to constituents "just outside of the 90-day window before an election where members of Congress are not allowed to use their taxpayer-funded mailing privileges."

Her beef was that tax dollars, instead of campaign funds, paid for it.

Congressman Dent defended the practice when I interviewed him.

"The format of this newsletter is no different than any other newsletter I've ever sent out. It is approved by the Franking Commission. It is informational. I've noticed that [Republican] Chris Hackett, who is running against [Democratic] Representative Carney up in Northeastern Pennsylvania was attacked for the same thing. I'm waiting for Bennett's charge that Congressman Carney has done the same thing that I've done. There's a little hypocrisy there.

"I received very positive feedback from a number of people. Just yesterday, someone came up to me and said this was one of the best energy updates ..."

The challenger claims it's an unfair advantage. The incumbent explains it's legitimate constituent outreach. Story over, right?


On Sunday, the Bennett camp issued a news release that complains again. Here it is.

ALLENTOWN – While continuing his personal smear campaign against Democratic congressional candidate Sam Bennett, Republican Charles Dent got busted for spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on his election year political mail by The Morning Call.

Dent was recently criticized for his 6-page, color, glossy “energy update,” which he rushed out just before the 90-day deadline under the Congressional “franked-mail privilege.”

“Talk about money wasted. With all that mail, it’s no wonder Dent’s only two legislative accomplishments in four years are renaming post offices,” says Gary Ritterstein, Bennett Communications Director. “He should give back that money to help pay down the budget deficit he votes for and send the bill to Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Lobbyists that give him hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Dent spent just $722.51 on mail from his congressional office in 2007, a non-election year, according to the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. But according to Morning Call's
Pennsylvania Ave. Blog, he’s spent $22,320 just this election year.

“Sorry Charlie, you can run on your rhetoric, but you can’t hide from your record,” says Bennett. ”To change the way Washington works, we’ll have to change who works in Washington.“

According to Josh Drobnyk's very informative blog, Dent is ranked 11th of 19 Pennsylvania House members in spending on franked mail. Five of the ten Pa. Congressmen who spend more than Dent are Democrats.

Dent campaign manager Shawn Millan has this response to Bennett's latest accusations.

"Like a poor marksman, Sam Bennett and her hired Washington help keep missing their target. However, her wild shots have managed to hit: Joe Sestak, Jason Altmire, Mike Doyle, the embattled Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney all of whom have spent more if not twice as much as Charlie on legislative mailings. Like the charity-scamming hypocrite she is, however, she mentions not a word about her fellow Democrats, meaning this is just another baseless press release from a campaign with no base in the 15th District.

"It is interesting that Sam continues to openly and blatantly lie regarding Charlie’s legislative accomplishments. For example, Charlie’s bill that would allow the Civil Air Patrol to provide aerial surveillance to aid Border Patrol officials passed the House easily with broad bipartisan support. Of course, if Sam Bennett mentioned border security she would also have to mention that she supports full amnesty for people in this country illegally."


Blah Society said...

I could be wrong, but I thought that Dent paid back some of the money he spent on the mailings?

Anonymous said...

That's a stretch ( I mean lie) A. J. C. whoever you are.

Bernie O'Hare said...

AJ acknmowledges he could be wrong, so why call him a liar?

Anonymous said...

A.J.C. = L.I.E.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Suit yourself.

Anonymous said...

H Res. 63 (Roll Call #99): Iraq Troop Build-Up – February 16, 2007.
On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced the decision to deploy additional troops to Iraq. Voting 246-182, the House passed a nonbinding resolution opposing the president’s decision to deploy 21,500 additional combat service personnel to Iraq, expanding the U.S. force there to at least 150,000 troops. The measure stated that Congress “will continue to support and protect” current and former U.S. troops in Iraq. While the 95-word resolution had no legal authority, it marked the first showdown between the president and Congress. Seventeen Republicans voted for the resolution and two Democrats voted against it. A yes vote sent the resolution to the Senate.
Gerlach (R-6th) No
Murphy (D-8th) Yes
Carney (D-10th) Yes
Kanjorski (D-11th) Yes
Schwartz (D-13th) Yes
Dent (R-15th) No
Holden (D-17th) Yes

Anonymous said...

All of this Sam Bennett crap is really annoying... frankly I'm getting tired of your blog Bernie because its the only thing you write about.... Dent is going to win in a landslide... thank god! Bennett just keeps proving how ridiculous she is.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1117, what's your point? The surge worked, and thank God it did because if it hadn't (or if we had just pulled out) it would have been an unmitigated disaster.

Whether you agree w/ why we went to Iraq or not, that fact is that once we were there we screwed up big time. We had to do something to address the problems that we had a big hand in creating.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm fascinated by the topic and it is easy for me to write about it. I understand what you're saying, but the congressional pick is extremely important and it's important for voters to have all the data they need to make an informed choice. If you are not interested in that, then this blog is not for you. If Bennett's office is kind enough to send me a news release, I feel obligated to note it.

People are very hungry for this kind of information. The MSM lacks the space to write about it in as much detail, although their reports are very good, too. Judging from my sitemeter, I'd say you are in a minority. In the past few weeks, readership has skyrocketed.

Don't worry, my heart is always in the local stuff. That's what appeals to me most. But in many ways, I view this as very local.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how much of the $22,320 Rep. Dent spent in franking privileges was used for the last energy mailer? What other mailers did he send this year? Where they similar "updates" or were they specific informational materials that constituents needed to receive regarding federal laws, disaster preparedness, or something along those lines?

Blah Society said...

Bernie, Anon 9:45 (and 10:57) is an idiot. That's why he's anonymous. No need to defend against him.

But for the others reading, here's where I got my question from:

(Bernie's interview with Charlie Dent)

LVRamblings: Are you aware of any legislation that's pending right now to curtail the use of taxpayer money to send out informational pieces? Do you think it's a good idea or a bad idea, just as a general concept?

Congressman Dent: "Well, if I could have the media publish this information, that would be great. but they don't. A lot of my press releases are ignored, so this is one of the few ways left that I can communicate. By the way, we keep limitations on how much franked mail we send out. I have returned $200,000 in federal funds from my MRA. I run a frugal office. We don't spend a lot of money on a lot of frills. But we do feel that, from time to time, it is necessary to send out an informational mailer. On this energy issue, my office has received more comments on this and on the issue generally than anything else. They're calling all the time. People who did not write in may want to hear where their Congressman is on this issue."

Anonymous said...

Somebody please investigates Craig Dally's profligate use of franking to promote his latest vote on (fill in the blank). Craig, STOP! Nobody's running against you.