Like many constituents, Bill Reynolds receives correspondence from his congressional representative on issues that matter to him. It didn’t surprise him to receive a note from Rep. Katie Hill.
The first sentence, however, did: “Thank you for contacting my office regarding our border security.” Reynolds admits border security is a concern of his, but he adamantly insists he has never contacted Hill’s office.
“It’ll be a cold day in hell if I ever contact her office,” he declared. “Why the hell is she sending me mail? She knows I would never, ever, vote for her, and I’d never, ever, say anything positive about her.”
Reynolds said some of his friends, who also did not vote for Hill (D-Agua Dulce), received similar letters. One person, Jim Farley, wondered if Hill was abusing franking privileges.
“While responses to citizen’s inquiries are allowed, this is clearly a ‘response’ to inquiries that never happened,” Farley said in a text. “It is pretty clear it is just an attempt to appear to be tough on border security. She should not be using taxpayer money to do this.”
According to a 2015 article in Congressional Research Service, franking privileges, which allows members of Congress to send mail without postage, may only be used for matters of public concern or public service. They may not be used to solicit votes or contributions, to send mail regarding political campaigns or political parties or to mail autobiographical or holiday greeting materials.
Hill’s note, likely a form letter, gives her opinion on border security: She is willing to fully fund it as a means to keep out drug trafficking and criminals, and that she has voted to increase funding to the Department of Homeland Security, for physical barriers “where they make sense,” for border agents and to fairly process cases of women and children fleeing violence.
District Director Angela Giacchetti said all correspondence emanates from the Washington office, so she couldn’t speak to how Reynolds received a letter, although it could have been a result of miscommunication (a call to Hill spokesperson Kassie King went unanswered). She did say that, like every legislator, Hill has databases of constituents that can be used for outreach, and when someone asks for Hill’s opinion on an issue, a letter is sent.
Giacchetti also said she knows Reynolds and recognizes he’s a community leader, especially where veterans are concerned, so she would like to communicate with him.
“It is important to engage with folks, even if they disagree with us,” she said. “They might be able to further our service, especially, in his instance, for people who have served this country.”
Reynolds is not swayed.
“She’s trying to put lipstick on a pig,” he said of Hill. “They way she wrote that letter, it’s all (nonsense). … She’s a fraud, and this is more proof.”