beaver boundary

place, politics and power in oregon

Frankly, Mr. Smith, I Don’t Give A Damn November 5, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,Ethics,Gordon Smith,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 8:59 am

The Congressional Franking privilege, which allows members of Congress to send correspondence to constituents without cost, dates back to the seventeenth century in the British House of Commons. Over four centuries, it’s been subject to quite a bit of abuse by politicians to use official dollars for electoral pandering come campaign time. That doesn’t mean that Gordon Smith won’t take that abuse to new levels in order to save his Republican hide in blue Oregon.

The Boundary obtained a copy of Smith’s latest direct-mail piece franked newsletter form a source residing in the Portland metropolitan area. Based on Smith’s sweater-wearing peacenik persona that’s featured in the piece, it would seem the flyer probably went only to Portland-area voters. (More franking crankiness after the jump.)


The message of the front page of the mailer’s is clear: Senator Smith works across the aisle, and only across the aisle it would seem, in the spirit of the liberal values of Oregonians. He namechecks Senator Wyden’s health care plan without really endorsing it–he is not among the 8 cosponsors of the bill. And it’s all wholesale politics! The bullet points, the Democrats, the italic headlines with vague achievements: Gordon Smith is truly campaigning with the taxpayer dime, and in an overtly conspicuous fashion.

The back is all about education:


Where are the bill numbers, the congressional colleagues and the actual proof that Smith has done any due diligence towards the claims listed on this mailer? Official correspondence should carry the weight of the work being done by the member who sends it. The bullet points and ethereal nature of this mailer (again, paid for by you, me and Aunt Susie from Delaware) surely reflect a lightweight senator–one that tries to cover his right-wing tracks of war support and social conservatism by promoting his few associations with Democrats and espousing empty overtures towards liberal values.

And he has the gall to stick us with the bill for his explicit and shameless campaigning to the left. What’s more–though this is definitely a piece of campaign direct mail, it’s a shoddy one at that. Look at the crappy mismatched color schemes, the lack of bold, intriguing fonts and the grainy, poorly-composed photography–his consultants didn’t put too much work into this.

It may barely be legal, but it sure as hell ain’t ethical, and it’s not even a well-designed piece. Call up Gordon Smith’s office and tell his staff that if the Senator has enough contempt for the people of Oregon to campaign with taxpayer money, the least he could do is give us something pretty to look at! (Numbers at the bottom…).

Oregonians deserve a hard-working, ethical Senator who’s not afraid to list the specifics of his accomplishments. Frankly, it’s time to get rid of Smith and give someone else a turn.

Washington, DC Office
404 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202.224.3753
Fax: 202.228.3997

Portland, OR Office
One World Trade Center
121 SW Salmon Street, Suite 1250
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 503.326.3386
Fax: 503.326.2900


12 Responses to “Frankly, Mr. Smith, I Don’t Give A Damn”

  1. notasmithfan Says:

    New Video: 365 Days to Stop Gordon Smith.
    Check it out here:

    We are almost exactly one year away from Election Day 2008. One year from now, will voters choose a candidate who will stand for Oregon, or with President Bush?

    Watch the video and let other Oregonians know how you will vote a year from now, and why.

  2. notasmithfan Says:

    Sorry, the link grabbed the period.
    Here’s the video:

  3. Anon Says:

    Good work on this.

  4. John Reed Says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I would be interested to know if this campaign mailer, which is what it is, really only went to Portland addresses. I would imagine that it did since I can’t imagine that Smith would send a mailer to his supporters in Josephine county that mentions his work with Hillary Clinton. If this is true, it is really beyond the pale. I have never heard of an elected representative only sending their legislative newsletter to certain key constituencies.

    Also, from a campaigning perspective I really don’t understand the choice the Smith people made here. By the time the election rolls around, no Portland area Democrat is going to remember this silly little mailer. If I were running the Smith campaign (perish the thought and may it rot in hell) I would have used his legislative mailer to motivate his base and get them involved with the campaign. I know its early, but if we continue to see this level of incompetence from the Smith people I like our chances of taking this seat.

  5. Kevin Says:


    Seems to me that Smith is between a rock and a hard place. I agree that there seems limited value in his targeting Lefties. But at the same time he can’t safely tack Right and expect it not to come back to haunt him next November. With a spirited stable of would-be challengers he can’t safely do nothing either.

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy, IMO.

  6. billybob Says:


    The reason that he probably sent out the mailer now is becuase federal law prohibits him from sending mass mailings such as these one within a certain period of time before the election. I believe that its 3 months and that includes general election and primary.

  7. Any-non-imus Says:

    Well…at least this blog is finally attacking the target instead of attacking an arrow that’s aimed at taking out the target…

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I was reading your criticisms, and thank you for repeatedly invoking Senator Smith’s name – if you hadn’t, I would not have been able to tell this apart from a generic critique of the mailers I get from Senator Wyden and Representative Wu.

    When you can do a side-by-side comparison and show that NONE of the mailers from those two folks are equally campaign-y, then I’ll believe you have a legitimate beef with Smith – otherwise, this just looks like you’re a partisan Dem trying to beat Smith up for doing the exact same thing that you’d defend Wyden and Wu over.

    I’m open to legitimate criticisms of Smith. This sort of nonsense makes me think you’ve got nothing more substantive.

  9. Anon Says:

    Let’s file a FOIA request to get the mailing list for this “news”letter if Smith will not divulge it.

    Also – many of our elected representatives communicate with us by email. For one example, I received several very good, lengthy, and highly detailed, legislative updates from Greg MacPherson, by email. This is the opposite end of the spectrum from Smith’s glossy fluff piece by snail mail (which is also unkind to the environment – we don’t need excess, useless paper, Gordo).

  10. Anon Says:

    Anon618 – put up or shut up. Where are these other brochures of which you speak?

  11. John Reed Says:


    I believe your right. I was commenting on way the Smith campaign chose to target its mailer. I would have expected them to use this newsletter to help activate the Republican base.

  12. […] November 9, 2007 If you were Gordon Smith, with an unhappy base and vulnerable, would you send an a direct mail piece to Eastern Oregon bragging about working with Hillary Clinton? Neither would I. However, a mailer claiming exactly that showed up in Portland mailboxes about two weeks ago. Even better, Smith used Congressional franking privileges and tax payer money, to send this flier. […]

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