During her campaign last year Republican Renee Ellmers slammed Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge for sending tax-paid mailings to his constituents.
But now that she is a member of Congress, Ellmers too is sending out tax-paid mailings to constituents.
Last year she thought it was a bad idea, firing off a letter to Etheridge accusing him of using taxpayer money to campaign.
“In every way these mailings resembled typical campaign ads, except they were paid for by taxpayers and not by your campaign,” Ellmers wrote in a letter her campaign made public. “How can you explain writing taxpayers that you are ‘reducing the deficit’ when you are wasting thousands of dollars of their money on political mailings to help you get reelected?”
Her congressional office reported spending $18,997 on two mailings to constituents in June and August that said she was “fighting for seniors” health care benefits and for “preserving Medicare.''
Asked about the mailing Monday, Ellmers said in a statement that it was an important part of her job to keep her constituents informed on the issues that will affect them.
“But even more important is hearing what they think, what issues concern them, and how I can serve them,” Ellmers said. “That is why nearly every one of these constituent mailings include a reply section where I encourage constituents to tell me their thoughts on these issues. This is about having a conversation, not making a sales pitch. My constituents want to hear from me and I want to hear from them ...”
But the Democratic Party accused Ellmers of “appalling” hypocrisy and having “totally gone Washington.”
“After pledging to protect Medicare on the campaign trail and then voting to end the program in Congress, Congresswoman Ellmers is now sending out the same glossy mailers she once railed against – her double-dealing has simply gotten out of hand," said state Democratic spokesman Walton Robinson.
(Ellmers voted for the GOP plan to overhaul Medicare, that would change it from a fee-for service program which pays for health care procedures for most beneficiaries into a program which subsidizes the purchase of health insurance by individuals. The plan, largely crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, would have applied to people 54 and younger.)