Teplitz campaigns using taxpayer money, DiSanto calls for real reform

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State Senate Candidate John DiSanto today criticized Senator Rob Teplitz for taxpayer-funded campaigning so close to an election. DiSanto also proposed real and significant reforms to the rules. “For someone who talks so much about reform, Senator Teplitz is quick to violate the intent of the rules designed to prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on political campaigns,” DiSanto said.

Some of the senator’s constituents received an automated phone call Tuesday evening, Sept. 6, letting them know about a second call they would receive on Sept. 7 allowing them to participate in a “live telephone town hall” with Senator Teplitz. This call was held 62 days before the election when the current restriction is no closer than 60 days, and it was after Teplitz released his first paid campaign commercial, so it was clearly in the political season.

During the call, Teplitz was quoted as saying “there’s a culture here in the Capitol of insiders protecting themselves.” DiSanto says he “fully agrees with Teplitz about that culture, and the senator has once again proved that he is embedded in that culture and will use the taxpayer-funded perks of his office for self-promotion.”

Not only did taxpayers pay for these two recent name-boosting calls for Teplitz (which had also gone out right before the primary election), they have also paid $150,000 for newsletters including numerous campaign-type photos of Teplitz. Teplitz’ most recent 6-page newsletter was distributed throughout the district within the past two weeks.

However, in none of these calls or newsletters will you learn the most interesting fact about Teplitz’ tenure, that he has been unable to pass even a single piece of legislation as prime sponsor in more than 800 attempts. “With a batting average like that he wouldn’t make a t-ball team, and we shouldn’t keep him in the Senate,” DiSanto said. “Teplitz is just another career politician using the perks of his office to hold on as long as he possibly can to grow his taxpayer-funded pension and take care of his special interest backers.”

To stop career politicians from using taxpayer dollars for campaigning, DiSanto proposes an outright ban on legislative robocalls and newsletters during an election year. DiSanto also proposes a standardization of legislative newsletters with common “public service” information and minimal legislator photos so that the newsletters aren’t used as vehicles almost solely for self-promotion. Legislators could continue to use the news media and their websites to provide information but couldn’t actively solicit constituents using taxpayer dollars in an election year. As well, DiSanto believes state executive branch agencies that administer most of the programs legislators like to tout should be the ones primarily responsible for publicizing them in a non-political fashion.

Senators should be accessible and responsive to their constituents, and DiSanto said he “would be available by phone, email, social media, my website and in person throughout the district so that constituents can ask questions and get assistance. What I won’t do, unlike Teplitz, is waste my constituents’ money promoting myself or suggesting that I’m for things I voted against.”

Senator Teplitz frequently says he “leads by example.” If so, he sets a terrible one. This state could save millions of dollars a year if we curbed legislators’ constant self-promotion.

Click here for the DiSanto Plan to Reform Perks and Privileges:
Legislative Reform Plan