Tag Archives: Senate Ethics Committee

"Merry Christmas" PC Apartheid in Congress


There’s a PC apartheid in Congress.
“Merry Christmas” is banned in the U.S. House of Representatives but not in the Senate.
Mark Tapscott reports for The Examiner, Dec. 16, 2011, members of the House are told they can’t wish constituents a “Merry Christmas” in any mailing paid for with tax dollars.

The congressional franking commission that reviews all congressional mail to determine if it can be “franked,” or paid for with tax dollars, has issued an edict that no holiday greetings, including “Merry Christmas,” can be sent in official mail.
Members of Congress send millions of dollars worth of mail to constituents every year but there are official rules that govern what can and cannot be said in those mailings. Members are barred, for example, from saying anything that might be construed as advocating their re-election.
But saying “Merry Christmas” is also not permitted, according to a Dec. 12 memo from the “Franking Commission Staff” concerning “Holiday Messaging.” The memo explains:

“Members are unable at the current time to use official resources to record holiday greetings, post on social media/website, or send to constituents in franked mail or e-communications.

Member’s Congressional Handbook: GREETINGS-

Expenses related to the purchase or distribution of greetings, including holiday celebrations, condolences, and congratulations for personal distinctions (wedding anniversaries, birthdays, etc.), are not reimbursable.

Franking Manual:

4(a). Example of Nonfrankable Items
-Birthday, anniversary, wedding, birth, retirement or condolence messages and holiday greetings are prohibited.

You may make reference to the season as a whole using language along the lines of ‘Have a safe and happy holiday season.’ It may only be incidental to the piece rather than the primary purpose of the communication.”

Franking commission spokesman Salley Wood confirmed to The Washington Examiner that members of Congress indeed cannot wish constituents “Merry Christmas” in any official mailing: “Currently, incidental use of the phrase Happy Holidays is permissible but Merry Christmas is not.”
In other words, the very elected representatives who put “In God We Trust” on America’s currency are prohibited from using the greeting “Merry Christmas” in official communications to their constituents!
But that’s not the case with the Senate.
According to the regulation of the Senate Ethics Committee that handles franking issues for members of the Senate the upper chamber:

“Senators may not use the frank to mail holiday cards. However, Senators may use officially related funds to mail holiday cards to constituents. Holiday cards to friends should be sent with personal funds, not using Senate facilities. Senators also may NOT use the frank to acknowledge holiday greetings that were sent to them. Senators may express holiday greetings at the commencement or conclusion of otherwise frankable mail.

And yet, it is the Senate that has a liberal Democrat majority whereas the House has a Republican majority. Go figure.
~Eowyn

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