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Constitutionality of Affording Reduced Postal Rates to Committees of the Major Political Parties

Date of Issuance:

The Postal Service acted within its authority, under 39 U.S.C. § 3626 and other applicable statutes, when it limited special bulk third-class rates to committees of the major political parties.

An argument can be made that a differential postal rate subsidy is analogous to the differential public campaign financing restrictions upheld against constitutional challenge in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976); however, the subsidy differential at issue here is more problematic than the scheme held constitutional in Buckley, because it significantly burdens minor political parties without giving them any countervailing advantages.

An appropriations proviso that encourages a one-time administrative differential among political parties, and avowedly favors the major parties at the expense of all others, may be more difficult to justify than the statutory scheme upheld in Buckley, which was neutral in its long-term application.

Updated July 9, 2014