WASHINGTON — Michele Bachmann’s congressional office is not allowed to get in on the fun of advertising its Congresswoman’s run for the White House.
That was obvious Wednesday when the office sent out a release advising reporters of a National Journal article about Bachmann’s push to get a new bridge over the St. Croix River.
Sending out such an “In case you missed it” advisory is pretty standard. What isn’t is a mid-article redaction reading, “[This sentence omitted to comply with House Franking requirements].” The sentence, and one other, was scrubbed in order to keep the office in compliance with House rules prohibiting references to candidate’s campaigns for re-election or for other office.
The congressional frank is one of the great advantages of the incumbency: federally subsidized direct mailings to a member’s constituents at no cost to a re-election campaign. Because of the obvious leg-up this gives incumbents, House rules prohibit congressional offices from using franked mailings to discuss campaigns.
The rule also applies to electronic mailings and news releases and prohibits “specific references to past or future campaigns or elections, including election or re-election announcements and schedules of campaign related events.”
The sentence in question called Bachmann a “newly minted presidential candidate.” Another omitted sentence read, “It will test the White House hopeful’s ability to master a task that has frustrated many a president: winning over the legislative branch.”
Those interested in the cumbersome franking rules can find them here. The Bachmann office news release is here.
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com.