Hatch Act and COLCPE

The Hatch Act was reformed in 1993, opening the door for letter carriers to become actively involved in politics. Many pro-NALC candidates would not have been elected without the involvement of letter carriers across the country. Listed below are the guidelines on what active letter carriers can and cannot do in politics, Should you have any questions, call




  1. Volunteering or managing a partisan political campaign. YES!

  2. Holding office in a political party or club. YES!

  3. Serving as a delegate to a political convention. YES!

  4. Raising money for COLCPE from other NALC members and their families. YES!

  5. Contributing to candidates or political organizations. YES!

  6. Attending fund raisers for candidates and organizations. YES!

  7. Stuffing envelopes with campaign literature that contains an appeal for financial contributions. YES!

  8. All fund raising activities for a NON-PARTISAN campaign. YES!

  9. Running for office in a NON-PARTISAN election. YES!

  10. Displaying a partisan bumper sticker on private automobile. YES!



  1. Running for partisan office. NO!

  2. Raising money for a candidate. NO!

  3. Coercing another employee to make a contribution. NO!

  4. Participating in a NON-COLCPE phone bank solicitation for political contributions. NO!

  5. Allowing the use of his or her name on an invitation or mailing for fund raising purposes. NO!

  6. Displaying partisan posters, buttons or similar items on federal premises, on duty or while in uniform. NO!

  7. Participating in partisan political activity on duty or on federal premises. NO!


Frequently Asked Questions: 

Q.....Can we hold a fundraiser?

A.....Yes, a branch may hold a fundraiser for COLCPE, our political action committee, but active carriers can only solicit money for COLCPE from other carriers. We can not ask other people to give to COLCPE, and we can not hold a fundraiser for a partisan candidate or political party.


Q.....Can we spend treasury money to pay lost time for someone to do legislative or political work?

A.....Yes, a branch can use treasury money to pay for lost time if the letter carrier is doing legislative or lobbying work, or if they are performing political activities which educate or organize NALC membership or as part of AFL-CIO COPE efforts, However, the branch cannot pay for lost time for a carrier to work directly on a partisan campaign.


Q.....Can we use our branch's phones to operate a phone bank for a campaign?

A.....Branch phones can only be used to call NALC members and other AFL-CIO union members. If the phones are used to call anyone other than labor union members, it is illegal and cannot be done.

Note: Check with your local and or state AFL-CIO representatives to find out what is being done in your area. It may be more cost and time effective to join an existing operation as opposed to setting up your own.


Q.....Can we invite a candidate to speak at a branch meeting?

A.....Political candidates for elective office are allowed, and welcome, to speak to our membership at branch meetings. This can be a great way to get your membership more interested in a campaign and to recruit volunteers. If it is a political speech, the branch must make time available to all candidates.


Q.....Can we publicize what candidates the branch is supporting?

A.....If your branch is endorsing a candidate, or recruiting volunteers for their campaign, you can write about it in the branch newsletter, as long as it is only mailed to branch members.


Q.....What else can branches do?

A.....Develop and maintain relationships with local politicians-many will move on to higher office, and you will be a step ahead if you already know them. Have an annual or semi-annual legislative event where you invite your Representatives to the branch meeting. Your branch can also sponsor a candidates forum around election time. Get involved with your local labor council's COPE program-they have great resources and programs for political involvement.




COLCPE (pronounced "cole-sep") stands for the Committee on letter Carriers Political Education. COLCPE is the federally registered political action committee of the NALC.

In order to insure that Congress protects the hard fought benefits of both active and retired letter carriers, NALC established COLCPE in 1976. Since its inception COLCPE has contributed over $15 million dollars to candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate who support letter carriers and their families. COLCPE is the largest federal employee political action committee and the NALC'S voice in Washington. NALC members should be proud of their legislative successes brought about through COLCPE.

Political campaigns are expensive. Contributions from COLCPE help re-elect our friends to Congress and defeat those who oppose letter carriers. COLCPE gives the NALC and all active and retired letter Carriers a voice in Congress to counter the anti-worker groups who want to take away the benefits we enjoy. Our fight is never over. In the new Republican controlled Congress, there will be members who will try to take away our COLA, raise the retirement age and compromise the Postal service. COLCPE is one of our most powerful tools to stop these efforts.

COLCPE is non-partisan and supports both Republicans and Democrats. Contributions to COLCPE are voluntary and cannot be made from general dues funds. Please take the time to contribute to COLCPE to support letter carriers and our union.



100 Indiana Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

Contributions to COLCPE are not tax deductible on Federal Income Tax Returns.