WASHINGTON, DC: The United States Postal Service (USPS) has no defense against a federal law preventing it from lobbying, but it’s using some ingenious methods to get round this.
WASHINGTON, DC: The United States Postal Service (USPS) has no
defense against a federal law preventing it from lobbying, but it’s
using some ingenious methods to get round this.
The USPS is involved in a rancorous debate with the United Parcel
Service (UPS), which is using PR to deliver a message to the House
Government Reform Committee that the USPS should not have its powers
The focus of the debate is a bill sponsored by Rep. John McHugh which
will grant the USPS the authority to regularly change its postal rates
and to create a private corporation that can sell non-postal
UPS has expressed concern that the USPS’s potential revenue from such
sources will be used to reduce costs for services that compete directly
with those offered by UPS.
But UPS is also claiming that the USPS has overstepped its lobbying
prohibition by preparing talking points that refute the charges made by
its critics, and which urge officials to monitor activities in state
These points were disseminated in a memorandum by USPS’ senior VP for
government relations Deborah Wilhite and COO/executive VP Clarence
Lewis, which urged postal executives to run an ’education effort’ to
prevent state legislatures from passing resolutions that limit the
organization’s financial freedom.
Norm Scherstrom, a USPS spokesperson in Washington, said the actions by
its managers are ’being taken as part of an educational campaign,’ he
claimed. ’Our employees are de facto spokespeople for the USPS, so we
are continually educating and sharing information with them.’
In its skirmish against the USPS, the UPS has been getting a PR boost
from Bethesda, MD-based Kaufman Public Relations. Kaufman, working with
a graphics firm, created a CD-ROM that was sent to every member of
UPS’ PR director Tad Segal is carrying a large part of the
communications burden. By his estimation, he has participated in at
least 25 editorial board meetings and a series of talk shows. ’The
postal service has all the advantages of a governmental agency with none
of the responsibilities of a private sector company,’ he said.
USPS has countered by noting that the organization must provide
universal service and answer to the Postal Rate Commission.