The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

February 14, 2013

Postal union millions to Democrats complicates Saturday mail end

(Continued)

The postmaster general yesterday stood by his position that ending Saturday mail delivery in August is legal, even though appropriations bills for three decades have required six-day mail, with the government operating under temporary funding.

Senate Democrats including Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada insist they, not Donahoe, get to decide on ending Saturday delivery. The Senate passed a measure last year that gave Donahoe some of what he wanted, while blocking him from ending Saturday mail delivery for at least two years. The House didn't vote on that measure or its own plan.

"It may be in the public interest to curtail Saturday mail delivery, but the decision may not be made in economic interests but in the interest of who their friends are," said Gary Chaison, a labor professor at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

Every elected member of the Senate Democratic caucus has received contributions from postal union political committees, the records show. Of the 55 Senate Democrats, only Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Mo Cowan of Massachusetts, who were appointed, haven't received donations from at least one postal union PAC. By comparison, 19 of the Senate's 45 Republican got postal contributions.

Stephen Lynch, a Democratic House member from Massachusetts running in the special election to fill new Secretary of State John Kerry's Senate seat, received the most among House members in the past six years. Lynch, whose mother was a postal clerk and father was an ironworker, received $175,100 from postal PACs, the records show.

A campaign spokesman, Conor Yunits, said the lawmaker has always been close to postal and ironworkers unions because of his parents. "He's very proud to have that support and these organizations have always been very important to his family," Yunits said.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., received $96,500 in contributions to lead all senators, though his figures also include donations to his House campaigns in 2008 and 2010. A spokesman, Ben Marter, said the contributions have no impact on how he votes. "Chris fights for jobs wherever they are — factory floors, schools, hospitals, or post offices," Marter said.

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