Princeton, August 12, 2010 – Saying it underscores how completely out-of-touch Rush Holt (NJ-12) is with growing concerns about wasteful federal spending and government transparency, businessman Scott Sipprelle today criticized Holt for spending large amounts of taxpayer money to boost his re-election campaign and called on him to release up-to-date reports of his spending totals on so-called “constituent outreach.”
According to official government records, Congressman Holt spent $221,211 on largely unsolicited mass mailings, phone calls and emails between July 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010 in an effort to boost his favorable ratings with 12th District voters. The practice, while legal, raises ethical red flags and is in dire need of reform, said Sipprelle.
“Our country is facing record budget deficits, businesses cannot find loans, and jobs are nowhere to be found, but entrenched incumbents like Rush Holt think it’s perfectly acceptable to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money promoting their re-election under the guise of ‘keeping constituents informed,’ said Sipprelle. “This is just glaring example of a broken political system in dire need of comprehensive, bold reform.”
Additionally, Sipprelle called on Holt to publicly release how much taxpayer money he spent on “Mass Media” between April 1, 2010 and the beginning of the blackout period that prevents this type of activity 90 days before an election, which began last week.
“Anyone who lives in the 12th Congressional District has been on the receiving end of an accelerating barrage of communications from Congressman Holt that seemed to only intensify after I got into the race and he realized there was an obstacle blocking his assured re-election,” said Sipprelle. “What they probably didn’t know was it was their tax dollars paying for it. It’s incumbent upon him to release those numbers immediately, so his constituents can see the full impact that his self-promotion campaign has had on their pocketbooks.”
Sipprelle said a common-sense reform he would sponsor upon being sworn-in to Congress in January, is that the amount of money being spent by each Member of Congress on offices, staff, travel and mass media should be prominently listed on the home page of their congressional web site, so constituents could know in real-time the cost of their representative.
“Transparency is a terrific disinfectant,” said Sipprelle. “And Washington needs a healthy dose of it right away.”