Unethical Mailings by WV House Democrats Receive Scrutiny

Last month it was revealed that Democrat members of the West Virginia House of Delegates used their franking privileges to reach likely Democrat voters – a major ethic law violation. It only gets worse from here.

An updated report shows that more than 64,000 letters were mailed by House Democrats since April 18th. Instead of going to all constituents, these letters were specifically mailed to registered Democrats in their districts from mailing lists supplied by the state Democratic Party. All of this before the May 13 primary, which could send some incumbent Democrats home for good.

This is all inappropriate on many levels. First of all, the mailings are costing the state thousands of dollars it normally doesn’t spend during a year when the state is in a budget crunch. WCHS-TV looked into the costs during their Waste Watch segment Thursday.

“In the earlier period, which preceded a non-election year, the entire House spent $3,600 on mail. But in the five months preceding next week’s primary, House spending on mail totals $15,000, and rising.

Many lawmakers have upped their mailings considerably from year to year, particularly House Democrats, many of whom are expected to have tough primary or general election battles.”

The second problem is one not highlighted in the WCHS story, but just as important. House Democrats are not mailing all constituents these letters. The addresses were not produced in-house by the House Clerk or Legislative Services. The addresses were provided from voter rolls by state Democrat Party operatives. It’s the state Democrat Party interfering in their own primary, in essence endorsing incumbent Democrats over their primary opponents.

Above all, the biggest problem is House Democrats using the staff of the West Virginia and state resources for their own electioneering. As I wrote last month, there are legal ramifications.

“House Democrat leadership have not addressed these accusations, but if true, it truly shows that it’s time for new leadership in the West Virginia House of Delegates. A lawmaker cannot use state resources for personal gain. It’s a violation of the West Virginia Governmental Ethics Act.”

State newspapers in Charleston have yet to look into the matter, but the WCHS story shows that House Democrats will do anything to keep their power.