Having been an appreciative supporter of Rep. Daniel Bonham, I was profoundly disappointed to recently learn that his election-timely "Legislative Update," received last week, had in fact been paid for by taxpayer dollars, and not by his personal campaign funds, despite the fact that it arrived in voter mailboxes 45 days prior to the election.
Such timing conflicts with the intent of the state rules, which specify a 60-day blackout period for taxpayer-funded newsletters by those representatives seeking reelection — rules designed precisely to prohibit the kind of thing that Bonham’s mailing effected, which was to smuggle campaign promotion under the guise of a legislative update, at taxpayer expense.
While it turns out that Bonham’s flyer did not violate the letter of the rule (which permits the 60-day period to include the time involved for printing and mailing, after the flyer leaves the legislator’s hands), the fact that it clearly violates the spirit and intent of the rule is extremely troubling to me, since it points to a lack of judgement and ethical integrity on Bonham’s part.
While Rep. Bonham has publicly expressed regret for the timing of the flyer, citing “a hectic year,” his regret would seem less empty and more consequential, and his integrity less in question, were he to voluntarily repay the taxpayers the $14,439.36 we spent on his campaign materials. I hope and expect that he will choose to do so.