Tuesday, September 24, 2013

House Members Slash Direct Mail Spending

Congressional mailings, those glossy fliers and officially stamped letters using taxpayer-funded postage, are experiencing a rapid decline. Members of the House spent 68% less on mailers during the first half of this year compared with the same period of 2012, according to an analysis by POLITICO of the House’s quarterly disbursement reports. In the first six months of this year, House members spent $4,139,890 to send direct mail to their constituents, compared with $12,901,782 in the first six months of 2012. The nation's politicians aren't giving up on constituent communications, however; they are switching the medium of their message, mainly to digital channels. With an eye on sequester budget cuts, Facebook ads and e-mails are seen as costing less for quick and targeted contact. In the first half of 2013, House members spent $3,578,105 on digital communications, including Facebook and online ads, which is up from $2,177,547 during the same period of 2012. Some House members have dropped direct mail from their budgets entirely; 247 sent out mail in the first six months of 2012, but only 172 did so in the first half of this year. Direct mail still has its fans, of course, including politicos whose districts have a large senior population. Republicans lead in direct mail usage, with 13 of the top 20 direct mail spending slots. For more, see the POLITICO article at http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/bye-bye-franked-mail-96096.html.

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