Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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LeMieux not buying Mack explanation on mailer
Posted May 10, 2012 by William March
Updated May 10, 2012 at 03:36 PM
In a news conference call, George LeMieux said he doesn’t buy Connie Mack IV’s explanation of how a mailer promoting Mack’s Penny Plan, which resembles a campaign mail piece, was sent to Republican voters statewide at taxpayer expense.
“What the facts show in my belief is that the was a coordinated effort” to use a taxpayer resources to benefit Mack’s Senate campaign, said LeMieux, Mack’s main competitor in the GOP Senate primary. “It is not an honest mistake,” as Mack contends, he said.
LeMieux cited the mailer’s mention of backing from Sen. Rand Paul, who endorsed Mack in the primary the same week the mailer went out; the fact that the mailer was about Mack’s “Penny Plan” for federal budget reform, a major plank in Mack’s campaign; and that the mailer apparently went only to Republican “supervoters,” consistent voters who are the chief targets in a GOP primary.
Mack sent out the mailer using the congressional franking privilege of sending mail for free to constituents, but it went to voters outside his congressional district—the franking privilege applies only to a Congress member’s district. A Mack campaign spokesman blamed a mistake by a direct mail firm that worked for both the congressional office and the campaign, William McClintock Associates, which advertises itself as a Republican political mail firm.
But Mack’s congressional office won’t answer questions about the mailer. A campaign spokesman wouldn’t say whether the mailer went only to GOP supervoters.
The mail firm has repaid the U.S. Treasury almost $18,000 for the cost of the mailer, according to documents provided by Mack’s campaign. But LeMieux said since the mailer was “in effect a campaign piece,” that means the firm has given the Mack campaign an illegal, $18,000 campaign contribution.