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Congress in joint session

Neat article in today’s Wall Street Journal about spending on e-mail (and similar communication) for constituent outreach by members of the House of Representatives. The article says that in the first nine months of the fiscal year, members spent a total of $3.5 million on this.

A little math: Grossing up this figure to a simple 12-month figure yields $4.7 million. Since there are 435 voting representatives in the House, on average they spent $10,736 last year on constituent e-mail and other electronic communication. The current run rate is undoubtedly higher than this. … It is only a small jump from this number to the benchmark number of $12,000 per year — $1,000 per month. (To be fair, we’re ignoring the last election cycle as a driver of this spending, as well as the political issues raised in the WSJ article — representatives may be violating the rules with some of this electronic communication.)

The point is that members of the House are now spending, on average, about $1,000 per month on e-mail (and similar electronic communication). This is a serious level of spending, and is consistent with our view that e-mail marketing will become a very widely used medium. I’m not talking about spam here, but about permission-based e-mail, which is where this category is quickly moving. Could the House be ahead of the curve on this?

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