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Customer Support Ruling

 

Political Action Committee - Nonprofit Standard Mail
UPDATED January 2006

PS-128 (703.1.3)

This Customer Support Ruling discusses the eligibility of a so-called “political action committee” of an authorized nonprofit organization to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail (nonprofit) rates of postage.

Some authorized nonprofit organizations that have political action committees establish "separate segregated funds," pursuant to section 316 (b)(2)(c) of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. 441(b)(2)(c).  These organizations maintain separate accounting and reporting of the segregated funds for two reasons:

  • to permit members of the organization to specify that their membership dues will not be used for political action purposes; or

  • to assure that proper records are kept for reporting the use of political funds to public and governmental regulatory agencies.

The Postal Service has traditionally held that a political action committee of a properly authorized nonprofit organization could mail at the nonprofit rates under the authorization of the organization, the same as any of the organization’s other committees—such as a membership or by-laws committee—might do.  There is no reason to reach a different conclusion simply because the organization has established a separate fund for accounting and record keeping purposes or to meet governmental regulatory agencies’ reporting requirements.

However, because of standards restricting “cooperative” mailings, a political action committee that establishes itself as a separate and distinct organization, whether by incorporation or other means, may not mail at the nonprofit rates under the nonprofit authorization of a properly authorized nonprofit organization, even if affiliated with the authorized organization

 

(Signed)
Sherry Suggs
Manager
Mailing Standards
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436