Postal Unions Donate to Congress in Fight over Saturday Mail

Photograph by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A U.S. Postal Service employee loads his van as he prepares to leave the loading dock to deliver mail from the Los Feliz Post Office on Feb. 6, 2013 in Los Angeles.

Postal union political action committees have given more than $9 million to current members of Congress, Bloomberg News reported. All but five of Congress’s 255 Democrats and independents received campaign donations from postal worker union groups in the past six years.

That’s another complication as Congress weighs whether to allow Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to continue with his plan to end  Saturday mail delivery in an attempt to pare the Postal Service’s costs.

“Unions and businesses don’t make political contributions out of simple altruism,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group that supports cuts in federal spending. “They’re expecting their issues, their agenda, their message to be heard.”

Lawmakers are concerned about the change’s potential impact on constituents who don’t have Internet access, especially in rural areas, and on Postal Service employees who would be out of work. Many of them are minorities, women and veterans.

“These are people who desperately need those jobs,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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