Connie Mack's Penny Plan: Where's the "Update"?

Birthday wishes are in order! Best start baking the cakes now -- it's cool, you can just get the money out of the federal treasury.

Last week, we wrote about Rep. Connie Mack's illegal mailers that he sent to 90,000 Floridians. The postcards said they were a "legislative update" to the "Mack Penny Plan," the Florida Republican's prescription for cutting government spending. They were illegal because congressmen are only allowed to use federal money to pay for mail sent within their districts. Mack's were sent all over the state.

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The Tampa Bay Times got hold of some of them -- it talks about sponsorships of the bill, about how it sets a spending cap, about how "it's time to cut up the government's credit card."

One thing that this "legislative update" leaves out? On Friday, it was exactly one year since anything legislative actually happened with the Penny Plan.

Legislative records show Mack introduced the "One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2011" on May 11 of last year, when it was referred to several committees and then ignored. As of today, it hasn't moved an inch in one year and three days.

So where's the "update" in this legislative update? Mack thought taxpayers should foot the bill to send information to 90,000 people about it, so there must be something. The card says that the bill "continues to gain support and now has 70 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives." Maybe that's new?

Nope. The last person to sign on as a co-sponsor was Minnesota Republican Tim Walberg, and he did it last November. 

Maybe that the Senate version of the bill has gained support from "key Senators like Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey and Rand Paul"?

Nah. Paul signed on last July, Rubio in August, and Toomey back in January.

So why did he send it now? To gain more support for the bill? Not likely. Even though more than 50,000 of the postcards went to voters outside of his district, Mack says the mail was supposed to be sent only to his constituents. What good would that support do? They can't call their congressman to encourage him to support Mack's bill, because Mack is their congressman. His office has not responded to several calls for comment.

But maybe it's simpler than that. Maybe Mack saw his last opportunity to get a few thousand dollars' worth of free publicity, courtesy of you and me. It really was his last opportunity -- the mailers were sent last week, and today is legally the last day to force taxpayers to foot the bill for mail before the primary. Good thing he got in under the wire -- otherwise all those people outside of his district would have missed out on inconsequential mail pimping stagnant, year-old legislation.

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