Utah's House members didn't spend much on mass mailings

Utah's House members didn't spend much on mass mailings

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- When it comes to sending mass mailings to constituents, Utah's three U.S. House members aren't beating a path to the post office.

Rep. Chris Cannon spent nothing in 2006 while fellow Reps. Rob Bishop and Jim Matheson each spent less than $50,000, according to a review of records by The Associated Press.

Overall, House members spent $20.3 million in tax money to send what's often the government equivalent of junk mail -- meeting announcements, tips on car care and job interviews, surveys on public policy and just plain bragging.

Fifty-nine lawmakers, including Cannon, spent nothing on mass mailings last year.

Spokesman Fred Piccolo said Cannon prefers to use the Internet to communicate with constituents.

"He believes that e-mail is far more cost-effective," Piccolo said.

Cannon also posts videos on YouTube, writes blogs and has 35 friends on the social networking site Facebook in his effort to keep in touch with people in Utah's 3rd District.

Piccolo said Cannon frequently meets with constituents at schools, churches and civic functions.

Cannon recently sent a mailing on tax issues and will send another in January recapping the past year. Piccolo said his boss probably will spend about $30,000 on future mailings.

Bishop, a Republican, spent about $48,000 on mass mailings in 2006, while Matheson, a Democrat, spent about $35,000. Bishop ranked 225th while Matheson ranked 276th in the 435-member House.

When added up, nearly 116 million pieces of mail were sent by House members, many of them glossy productions filled with flattering photos and lists of the latest projects brought to the district.

A dozen House members spent more than $133,000 each to send 9.8 million pieces of mass mailings. Total cost: $1.8 million.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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