Merry Christmas Wishes

December 19, 2011 by staff 

Merry Christmas WishesMerry Christmas Wishes, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have been told they can’t send constituents Christmas greetings and have it paid for with tax dollars, according to the Washington Examiner.

One Capitol Hill staffer called the Congressional Franking Commission – which reviews all congressional mail to determine if it can be paid with tax dollars – and was told that Christmas greetings can’t be sent in official mail.

According to the commission, cards can’t say: “Merry Christmas or Happy New Year” and be paid for by U.S. tax dollars, the newspaper reports. But they can say “Have a happy new year,” referring to the time of year, but not the holiday.

Members of Congress send millions of dollars of mail to their constituents every year, but there are rules for what can be said in official mailings.

“Merry Christmas” is not permitted according to a Dec. 12 memo from the “Franking Commission Staff,” reports the Examiner.

The memo goes on to explain: “Members are unable at the current time to use official resources to record holiday greetings, post on social media/website, or send to constituents in franked mail or e-communications.”

The handbook for members of the U.S. Congress restricts the reimbursement of greeting to constituents, saying that “the purchase or distribution of greetings, including holiday celebrations, condolences, and congratulations for personal distinctions (wedding anniversaries, birthdays, etc.), are not reimbursable.”

The Franking manual itself lists birthday, anniversary, wedding, birth, retirement or condolence messages and holiday greetings as prohibited.

The Washington Examiner reports, however, that an incidental reference to the holidays in a piece of communication is permissible as long as it’s not the primary purpose of the communication.

“Currently, incidental use of the phrase Happy Holidays is permissible but Merry Christmas is not,” Salley Wood, a spokesman for the franking commission, told the Examiner.

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