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Ooops. Connie Mack mistakenly misspends tax money on penny-plan pitch to save tax money

Taxpayer-funded mailers highlighting Rep. Connie Mack's "penny plan" -- a proposal he's also pitching as a Senate candidate -- are landing in mailboxes outside the congressman's district, an apparent violation of House rules. So far, copies have been reported in the Hillsborough County communities Odessa and Lithia as well as Sarasota and Coral Gables.

The substance of Mack's mailer, which mentions Sen. Marco Rubio, would have had to be approved by a bipartisan committee. But House rules state that "a member is authorized to distribute a mass mailing or mass communications to constituents in the congressional district the member currently represents." Mack represents district 14, which includes all of Lee County and portions of Charlotte and Collier counties.

Reached Tuesday night, Mack campaign spokesman David James told the Tampa Bay Times: "The Congressional office discovered the list vendor made a mistake in preparing the list and is in the process of informing and reimbursing the Treasury for the entire cost."

"Franked" mail has long generated controversy due to the cost and advantage it provides incumbents. Mack introduced his penny plan a year ago this month but it has sat idle in committee.



--- Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times