Fact Sheet on S.335
(The Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act)


S. 335 declares the following to be unmailable -- any mailpiece which the Postmaster-General believes:

Reasonably could be interpreted or construed as implying any Federal Government connection approval or endorsement through the use of a:



Reference to the Postmaster General

Citation to a Federal statute

Name of a Federal agency, department, commission or program

Trade or brand name

Any other term or symbol

Contains any reference to the Postmaster General or a citation to a Federal statute that misrepresents either the identity of the mailer or the protection or status afforded such matter by the Federal Government.


“Civil” fines may be imposed by the Postmaster General (working through his subordinates), who is not appointed by the President or confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and are not limited to sweepstakes.

Penalties for mailing deceptive mailpieces would increase from $10,000 per day to: $50,000 for each mailing of less than 50,000 pieces; $100,000 for each mailing of 50,000 to 100,000 pieces; with an additional $10,000 for each additional 10,000 pieces above 100,000, not to exceed $2 million.

In any proceeding in which the Postal Service may issue an order under section 3005(a), dealing with mail seizure and stop mail orders, the Postal Service may in lieu of that order or as part of that order assess civil penalties in an amount not to exceed $25,000 for each mailing of less than 50,000 pieces; $50,000 for each mailing of 50,000 to 100,000 pieces; with an additional $5,000 for each additional 10,000 pieces above 100,000, not to exceed $1,000,000.

Any person who mails what S. 335 defines as unmailable shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for each mailing to an individual.

From all civil penalties collected in the administrative and judicial enforcement of this chapter, an amount equal to the administrative and judicial costs incurred by the Postal Service in such enforcement, not to equal or exceed $500,000 in each year, shall be deposited in the Postal Service Fund established under section 2003; and available for payment of such costs.

All remaining funds collected from civil penalties shall be placed in the general fund of the Treasury.

Any person who misuses a sweepstakes/skill contest no-mail list (established pursuant to the bill) can be fined up to $2 million.

Any person who recklessly mails a sweepstakes/skill contest to a name on a no-mail list, or that lacks the necessary information regarding a notification system shall be liable to the United States in an amount of $10,000 per violation for each mailing of nonmailable matter.

Nothing in the provisions of this Act (including the amendments made by this Act) or in the regulations promulgated under such provisions shall be construed to preempt any provision of State or local law that imposes more restrictive requirements, regulations, damages, costs or penalties.


In any investigation conducted regarding deceptive mail or mail fraud, the Postmaster General may require by subpoena the production of any records (including books, papers, documents, and other tangible things which constitute or contain evidence) which the Postmaster General finds relevant or material to the investigation.

Whenever any person, partnership, corporation, association, or entity fails to comply with any subpoena duly served upon him, the Postmaster General may request that the Attorney General seek enforcement of the subpoena in the district court of the United States for any judicial district in which such person resides, is found, or transacts business, and serve upon such person a petition for an order of such court for the enforcement of this section.


It is important to remember that the firms trashed in the Senate’s dog and pony shows on the Hill were predominately (if not completely) for-profit firms. Nonprofit organizations, particularly advocacy groups, must have their free speech rights protected against the Postmaster-General. Thus, it may be appropriate to seek the addition of a nonprofit exemption from the terms of this bill.