As a current list-owner, and as a former elected official who has dealt
with ethics issues, I recommend that you clarify to your Congressman's
staff that the privilege of having a Listserv list set up for oneself is
granted solely on the basis that topic of the list is acceptable to the
the operators of the Listserv in question, and that this privilege cannot be
purchased by paying a fee. In fact, given that Listservs operate on
BITNET/EARN/CREN which has a rule that network usage in general (which
would include the use of Listserv) cannot facilitate commercial
transactions, the theoretical case in question is outright prohibited.
It would be a different story if an entire Listserv service were being set
up especially for the Congressman, but it's clear by your description that
this is not what is being arranged. A better analogy would be the case of the
average citizen wanting to call in to a radio talk-show to get on the air
and express his/her opinions. The radio people may pick your call or they
may not; but if they do, you pay nothing.
I own or co-own 8 Listserv lists, and I pay nothing for that privilege.
Your Congressman is being treated just like everyone else and is being
given a privilege that is not for sale. Therefore the monetary value of
what is being granted should be listed as $0.
If your Congressman's staff would like to clarify this issue further with
me, tell them to feel free to contact me at telephone (mornings) 202-966-8738
or (afternoons) 202-606-7709.
-- Roger Burns Washington, DC [log in to unmask]