In recent newspaper ads, Rep. Rod Blum has spun several shopworn proposals for reforming Congress.
Among them: term limits. How about getting big money out of politics instead? How about a constitutional amendment proclaiming that corporations do not have the unlimited right to buy elections in this country?
Not among them: limiting the franking privilege (government-paid mailings) for the incumbent, particularly near election time. Take Rep. Blum’s recent multicolored mailing to those in Linn County expounding at length on how he’s working to convince someone somewhere that the federal government should release funds for flood protection in Cedar Rapids.
That mailing failed to make clear that — due to the expulsion of earmarks by Congress itself (“Prospect of flood money for Cedar Rapids slim,” Aug. 20), the current system puts the Cedar Rapids project in direct competition with hundreds, if not thousands, of other projects across the country. At the same time, Rep. Blum’s mailing made it sound — to me, at least — that the Obama Administration is holding up the project, which is simply not true.
I wonder why the congressman felt compelled to spend so much taxpayers’ money touting his tireless work (a few co-signed letters and inquiries with federal agencies) on a project for which he knows “the cost-benefit ratio has been more difficult as time has gone on,” as Sen. Chuck Grassley himself said in The Gazette article.