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6th District campaign gets hotter
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam


Jill Morgenthaler


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Published: 10/24/2008 12:03 AM

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A bitter election battle between Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam and Democrat Jill Morgenthaler in the 6th District has taken a new twist after an advocacy group accused the incumbent of violating his free mailing privileges.

Congress Watch, a branch of the nonprofit organization Public Citizen, filed a complaint involving Roskam with the U.S. House Franking Commission Thursday. The commission regulates franking, the policy allowing elected federal officials to send out informational mailings to constituents free of charge.

Roskam's staff scoffed at the allegations and said the Wheaton attorney has followed the rules scrupulously.

Members of Congress can't send out mass franked mailings 90 days before a general election. This year's cutoff date is Aug. 6. But mailings of 499 or less aren't subject to that mass mailing policy.

Congress Watch argued that multiple Roskam fliers distributed between Aug. 18 and Oct. 7 violate the rule.

Roskam spokesman Matt Vriesma said the fliers the complaint cites numbered 499 or less. "All of our communications have been approved by the Democratic majority in Congress," he said.

Congress Watch legislative representative Craig Holman said he was asking the Franking Commission to determine the count, but argued that similarities between the fliers qualified them as mass mailers.