Dems Go Postal Over GOP Committee’s Mail Rates

    The Maryland Democratic Party is calling on the Baltimore postmaster to investigate after alleging that the state Republican Party improperly used a nonprofit postal rate on mailings that were paid for, in part, by a caucus committee.

    Joseph E. Sandler of Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, who represents the Maryland Democratic Senate and House Caucuses, wrote in an Oct. 31 letter that the Republican Party “unlawfully used the Nonprofit USPS rate for material paid for in part by the Republican Senate Caucus Committee, which is an ineligible organization.”

    It’s the second letter Sandler has sent this election season. An earlier letter was sent in September.

    As the state committee of a political party, the Maryland Republican Party is eligible for nonprofit rates with the U.S. Postal Service. However, the Republican Senate Caucus Committee is separate from the Republican Party and not eligible for nonprofit rates, according to Sandler’s letters.

    “Clearly the Maryland Republican Party has made unlawful cooperative mailings,” Sandler’s letter said.

    The Maryland Democratic Senate Caucus Committee asked that the USPS investigate the cooperative mailings; warn the two committee not to send further cooperative mailings without proper postage; and impose appropriate penalties.

    The Democratic Party, in a news release, characterized the postal use as “attempts to defraud the postal service.”

    Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews issued the following statement on the letters:

    “The Maryland Republican Party has likely defrauded the postal service out of tens of thousands of dollars by misusing their postage discount rates, and it is unacceptable. Democrats are calling for an investigation to get to the bottom of Maryland Republicans’ apparent attempt to defraud the postal service and demand that Republicans make the agency whole.”

    A message left with Dirk Haire at the number listed in campaign finance records for the Republican House Caucus Committee was not returned. Haire is chairman of the committee and chairman of the state Republican Party.

    A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Maryland did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether the Democrats’ letter had been received or how requests for investigations are handled.

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    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.