Increase accountability and tracking for all Member-sponsored mail.

Beyond adoptions that reflect changes in communications technology, there are much-needed updates to the technology used in the actual franking process. A major concern with the franking privilege is the timely and cumbersome process of tracking franked mail. Because franked mail is paid out of the Member’s MRA, Member offices are required to keep track of the expenditures to reimburse the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for all postal expenses.

For mail sent from Washington, D.C. offices, these calculations are maintained by a third-party vendor to sort, distribute, and calculate mail costs to appropriately reimburse the USPS. However, for mail sent directly to district offices, district office staff are required to self-report the cost of their franked mail in monthly reports. Member offices that are delinquent in submitting their monthly report are charged an additional fee. This discrepancy between the Washington, D.C. and district office franked mail reporting process leads to inaccuracies and creates an added burden to district staff.

The Committee recommended that the automated tracking system be modernized in consultation with the USPS to include franked mail from district offices. Modernizing this process would make tracking easier and more reliable, and will further increase accountability of Members to their constituents. The Commission is encouraged to pursue alternatives for the reporting process. For example, Chair Susan Davis has suggested the USPS scan and automatically tally the unique barcode on each piece of mail sent from district offices, as is currently done for Washington, D.C.-initiated mail.

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