Magazine article Insight on the News

Fields' Fishy Franks

Magazine article Insight on the News

Fields' Fishy Franks

Article excerpt

U.S. Rep. Cleo Fields lost his bid to be governor of Louisiana in a Nov. 18 runoff election. However, the 32-year-old Democratic lawmaker was not the only loser: Some say he was joined by taxpayers who inadvertently helped fund his campaign.

According to the National Taxpayers Union, Fields sent 304,493 franked newsletters to voters in his congressional district on Aug. 18, costing taxpayers about $46,000. This came two months before Fields stunned political observers by becoming the first serious black aspirant for the Louisiana governorship since Reconstruction. Fields lost to Republican state Sen. Mike Foster, 65, a conservative who had been a Democrat until he entered the governor's race.

Fields, who was elected to the state Senate at age 24, is serving his second term in Congress. The large mailing, distributed in August, was an informational newsletter normally sent from many Capitol Hill offices. But in this case, the timing raised eyebrows.

"Of course, a newsletter like that doesn't have to say `reelect me' to be effective around election time," Pete Sepp, the National Taxpayers Union's vice president for communications, tells waste abuse. …

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