Taxpayer-funded spending in 2009 by Titus defended

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dina Titus spent close to a half-million dollars on taxpayer-funded newsletters, mailings and teleconferences last year as part of an effort to combat the foreclosure crisis in Southern Nevada, an aide said Monday.

Andrew Stoddard, Titus' communications director, defended the lawmaker's use of franked mail and communications services following a report that the Nevada Democrat was the highest-spending House member at $470,059, according to an Associated Press tally.

The spending, Stoddard maintained, was the result of her activism in putting together workshops and other outreach to people facing foreclosure and joblessness in the 3rd Congressional District.

"So we do a lot of robo calls and other mailers to let people know about them and to get the word out," Stoddard said. "It is something we feel is well worth using those funds so people can come out and get help with some of the issues they are facing."

Stoddard said the 3rd Congressional District contains roughly 960,000 people, making it the most populous in the nation so Titus' spending works out to "less than 50 cents per person."