CONGRESS | 15TH DISTRICT | Rep. Eric Swalwell has spent $190,945 on mail to constituents in the 15th Congressional District since being sworn-in to office in January 2013. The figure greatly outpaces the spending of all other Bay Area members of Congress, according to each official’s statements of disbursement.
“Swalwell himself spent more than four times as much on taxpayer-funded junk mail than the nine other Congressmembers combined!” screamed a press release from Swalwell’s challenger this June, State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett. The House has not released member’s statement of disbursement for expenditures from the first quarter of this year.
“Eric Swalwell is working to buy his re-election with taxpayer funds,” Corbett said in a press release Friday morning. “This is an outrageous abuse and far, far in excess of anything Swalwell needed to do to provide useful services to people he serves. Voters deserve a representative with a less cavalier attitude about how their tax dollars should be spent.”
The large number of mail pieces delivered to 15th District constituents has been noticeable over the past year. Many of the mailers have been used to advertise local events put on by Swalwell’s district office, primarily dealing with veterans and women. Swalwell told the Bay Area News Group his office often responds to notes and emails from constituents through snail mail.
But, the sheer number of mailers is also seen by many as concerted push to increase Swalwell’s name-recognition among voters, primarily in the Hayward portion of the district where he lost out to Pete Stark in 2012. Canvassers for Swalwell’s campaign earlier this year appeared uniquely focused on feeling out constituent’s knowledge of their representative’s accomplishments, or, even if they knew who he is.
However, the correlation between Swalwell’s franking prowess and a bid to acquaint him with voters does not play out when it comes to first-term Marin Rep. Jared Huffman, who sent no mailers in during his first year in Congress.