Kansas GOP, Boyda Fight over Taxpayer-Funded Mailings

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TOPEKA - A dispute over using tax dollars to send newsletters has entered the state's 2nd Congressional District race.

Kansas Republicans held a rally outside incumbent Democrat Nancy Boyda's Topeka campaign office Monday to draw attention to her use of the so-called "franking privilege." They say she's used $220,000 in taxpayer money to send mailings to voters.

The GOP is crying foul because Boyda criticized Republican Jim Ryun for spending $25,000 on such mailings in their campaign two years ago. Boyda defeated the incumbent Ryun in that race.

Kansas Republican Party Executive Director Christian Morgan called it an "overall theme" with Boyda. He says she'll criticize someone else for doing the wrong thing, then turn around and do it herself.

Boyda's campaign says the GOP is trying to shift attention away from concerns with current Republican challenger, State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins.

Boyda campaign communications director Thomas Seay says the problem with Ryun was very specific. He says franked mail cannot be sent within 60 days of an election to avoid it being used as campaign material. Seay says Ryun, in the last 24 hours such mailings were allowed two years ago, sent a mailing that "looked and smelled like a campaign piece."

Seay says Boyda stopped sending franked mail six months ago to avoid any appearance of impropriety. However, he says Boyda believes sending mailings outside of campaign season is part of the responsibility of communicating with constituents.