From the Times Ledger:
One of the advantages incumbents in the state Assembly have over their challengers is a printing budget that enables them to mail out quarterly newsletters to their constituents, which at least one good government group says is in need of reform.
“This is a persistent problem that the incumbent newsletters that go out ... are all about promoting the individual [and] much less about constituent service,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY.
While rules prohibit the newsletters, which update constituents about bills their legislators have passed and feature photos of the lawmakers at community events or important bill signings, from being distributed less than 30 days before an election, Lerner said the literature is more about self-aggrandizement and evoking “warm and fuzzy feelings” than providing constituent service.
“It’s bad to begin with. It gets worse closer to the election,” she said. “The better letters are heavy on constituent information.”
Lerner called for “clear guidelines and a culture that draws the line” on what is appropriate for the newsletters, although she said it is difficult to come up with a standard.