Customer Support Ruling
Headquarters, US Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436
State Committee of a Political Party - Nonprofit Standard Mail
UPDATED January 2006
This Customer Support Ruling discusses the eligibility of a state committee of a political party to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail (nonprofit) rates of postage.
Under the provisions of the law [39 U.S.C. 3626 (e)], a state committee of a political party may be authorized to mail at the nonprofit rates as a qualified political committee. However, committees organized at the county or local level are separate and distinct, ineligible political committees. An authorized state committee may neither lend the use of its permit to such a committee, nor engage in cooperative mailings at the nonprofit rates with a county or other local committee, because of the restrictions of Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 703.1.6.
Under DMM 703.1.6, a qualified political committee that is authorized to mail at the nonprofit rates may mail only its own matter at these rates. It may not delegate or lend the use of its permit to anyone else, nor may it make cooperative mailings at those rates if any of the cooperating persons or organizations are not themselves authorized to mail at the nonprofit rates. Generally, mailings are considered cooperative when two or more organizations or persons share in the costs of preparing or printing the material or paying postage.
These restrictions do not prohibit a state committee of a political party from endorsing and supporting local candidates, as long as the campaign materials to be mailed at the nonprofit rates are the committee's own and the committee pays the postage with no reimbursement from the candidates or other committees supporting those candidates.
When money earmarked for the exclusive use of only one candidate goes from a candidate or candidate's committee to an authorized political committee, the Postal Service does not view this as the authorized political committee’s money. Instead, we consider this to be the candidate's money, because it can't be used on behalf of anyone else. Mailings made by an authorized political committee on behalf of a candidate funded in this way are considered cooperative mailings ineligible for the nonprofit rates.
Additionally, as required under DMM 703.1.5, all matter mailed at the nonprofit rates by an authorized political committee must be properly identified as the authorized committee's own material. Basically, the requirements are that, if any return address is shown on mailpieces to be sent at the nonprofit rates, it must be that of the authorized political committee. If a return address is not used, the name and return address of the authorized committee must appear in a prominent location on the material being mailed.