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Sanchez Rings Up $914,000 Bill for Holiday Cards

As Americans reach into their wallets and pocketbooks this holiday season, few will have the resources of a Congressional campaign’s treasury to bankroll their gift-giving spirit.But since 2003, Congressional candidates have spent more than $5.3 million from their committees on presents, decorations and holiday events, according to a CQ MoneyLine study of disbursements.And no one has dug deeper to spread the season’s cheer than Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), who has spent more than $914,000 on her annual holiday cards during the past seven years. But the California Democrat’s campaign is switching things up a little this season by going green and e-mailing PDFs of her holiday wishes instead of printing thousands of cards and mailing them.It is unknown how much this change will save the Committee to Re-Elect Loretta Sanchez because it has yet to report this year’s holiday card costs to the Federal Election Commission. But the leftover funds could be a large windfall for some nonprofit because the campaign is going to give the money to charities in Orange County. On average, Sanchez’s card costs more than $152,000 per year with less than $6,000 being spent on the photo shoot.Sanchez’s Christmas and New Year’s cards have become something of an anticipated holiday event among her constituents, contributors and even the press. Past cards include warm messages and often feature a picture of her with her cat, Gretzky, in various settings — in front of the fireplace, at the beach or at a hockey arena.This year’s card takes a poke at the popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars,— with a picture of Sanchez dancing and decked out in an evening gown. It also has a caption of Gretzky saying: “Eat your heart out Tom DeLay— — a reference to the former House Majority Leader who took a twirl on the dance competition show this fall.

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