Pombo uses taxpayer dollars to campaign for Bush

Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chair of the House Resources Committee, has sent at least 100,000 flyers to voters in swing states praising President Bush’s environmental policies — at taxpayer expense. He’s also given his committee staff a month of vacation time immediately preceding the election, presumably so they can focus on helping Republican candidates get reelected — that’s paid vacation, mind you, again at taxpayer expense. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) called these two moves a “combined unprecedented crescendo of politicization” of House committee budgets. Individual House members must cease sending taxpayer-funded mailings 90 days before an election and must submit their mailings for approval by the House Administration Committee, but committees face no such restrictions. Pombo has requested more funds for official postage than any other committee chair — $250,000 this year, though he only ended up getting $50,000. Prior to 2003, the largest annual committee postage budget was $8,000.