Paul Hirschbiel, the Democratic challenger in the 2nd Congressional District, is ramping up his campaign. In addition to being very visible over the last few months, his campaign released today a series of Congressional reforms he’d work on if elected. Among the items:
- Cut congressional pay and benefits
- Ban Members of Congress from being lobbyists
- End taxpayer funded campaign mailers
- End free perks for Members of Congress
- Ban secret outside money
- Congressional budget disclosure
- Lobbyist reform
He is hosting a Congressional Reform Roundtable Thursday morning, from 9am to 10am, at the Daily Grind (Virginia Beach TownCenter) to discuss these and other issues.
Although included in the reform package, an issue that Hirschbiel has raised several times is that of taxpayer-funded mailings. Most of us have seen them: they are hard to distinguish from campaign mail. This issue has come up over and over – I think every candidate that has run in the 2nd since I moved into the district in 1999 has brought it up in one form or another. (Here’s the first post I can find on my blog about it.) Local TV station WVEC did a report on it a few months ago.
Given that House members are always in campaign mode, this franking issue is never going to go away as long as the privilege exists. I’d like to see it gone.