House GOP Staffers Floated Using Taxpayer Money To Promote Paul Ryan’s Budget

Republicans are regrouping after the Senate, on a bipartisan basis, rejected the regressive budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The budget, which cuts taxes on corporations and privatizes Medicare, was a focal point during recent special election in New York, where Democrat Kathy Hochul won a surprising upset victory. A source on Capitol Hill sent TPM reporter Brian Beutler a recently circulated e-mail from House Republican staffers hoping to salvage public opinion over the budget. Catherine Mortensen, a press person for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), solicited ideas for using franking privileges (ie, taxpayer-funded mass mailings commissioned by members of Congress) to defend the Ryan plan. The e-mail from Mortensen is below (emphasis added):

Hello Respected Hill Communicator!

I am going to talk to my boss about a franked mail piece that will hit people’s mailboxes in our district in late July –

I am thinking of focusing on one of two issues:

1 – need to reform Medicare ( a defense of the Ryan plan )

2 – debt ceiling – why we must make structural changes to spending before we agree to pass a debt ceiling limit increase.

Do you have any thoughts on which one of these messages is better?


House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has called for investigations into the use of taxpayer money to promote political goals. Will he look into this apparent effort to use public funds to promote the Republican budget?