December 22, 2011


No “Merry Christmas” in the House


One must wonder who is in charge in the United States House of Representatives.  In recent days it has been revealed that “currently” Congressmen are not permitted to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year” in any correspondence mailed using taxpayer dollars. It is permissible to say “Happy Holidays” or happy new year, but nothing else is permissible!  This is the determination of the “Franking Committee.”  So . . . just who/what is the “Franking Committee?”

“The bipartisan Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards or the “Franking Commission” has a three-fold mandate: (1) to issue regulations governing the proper use of the franking privilege; (2) to provide guidance in connection with mailings; (3) to act as a quasi-judicial body for the disposition of formal complaints against Members of Congress who have allegedly violated franking laws or regulations.  As a result of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for FY 1991, Members are required to submit all mass mailings (unsolicited mailings of 500 or more pieces of the same matter) for an advisory opinion prior to mailing.”

Click here to read the “Franking Checklist” to see what it has to say about holiday greetings.   Check out “Content of Official Mail,” under “Official May Not Include.”

If you have time and are interested, click here for some history and information on “the frank.”   There are six members of the Franking Commission.

Many Congressmen are fighting back! Illinois Republican Joe Walsh and Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross sent a letter to colleagues Monday asking them to support an effort to change the rule.

Action Steps

1.)     Contact the Franking Commission, click here for the e-mail form.  Ask them to change the franking rule on “Merry Christmas.”

2.)    Contact your Congressman and ask him or her to join the effort to change the rule.

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