It is a Federal crime to place unauthorized items in anyone’s home mailbox. On January 28, my wife and I found a Leslie Hairston campaign flyer in our mailbox. Looking around our building’s mailroom, we saw the same Leslie Hairston flyer peeking out of most of the building’s 369 mailboxes. Whoever put the stuff there committed a crime with each slotting of the flyer.
We turned the flyer over to our building’s office, and a strongly worded notice was distributed to all residents. At present, I don’t know who the perpetrator was, but I will try to find out. If this offense occurs again, I will report it to the U.S. Postal Service, and there will be no doubt on whose behalf the offense was committed.
So here we see another transgression by the supporters of Leslie Hairston’s effort to be the 5th Ward’s Alderman for Life. These transgressions are all aimed at foiling the candidacy of Anne Marie Miles, who has mounted a credible and well-conceived campaign to be elected 5th Ward Alderman; she wants to furnish the ward with the stimulus, leadership and advocacy it sorely needs.
One may ask, what other transgressions were committed by the Hairston camp? First, there were the countless, groundless and frivolous objections to nearly every signature on Anne Marie Miles’ nominating petitions. This crude effort to simply wear Anne Marie down did not work. She persevered and has the top position on the ballot.
Then, there were the harassing threats to send building inspectors to the landlord of Anne Marie’s campaign office on 71st Street. Nice try, but Anne Marie has a lot of supporters on “Leslie’s turf”, and the campaign office found a new home. Next, a building inspector appeared (just by chance, of course) at a place displaying a sign supporting Anne Marie Miles for 5th Ward Alderman. It would be worth a look, in order to find out how this tactic may run afoul of Federal election laws, and even local laws regarding misappropriation of public monies.
And now, we have the mailbox caper.
A U.S. Postal Service press release dated September 9, 2010 says, “The U.S. Postal Service would like to warn people that only authorized U.S. Postal Service delivery personnel are allowed to place items in a mailbox. By law, a mailbox is intended only for receipt of postage-paid U.S. Mail….. the Postal Service has received complaints of flyers without paid postage being placed in mailboxes. … this type of activity is illegal by federal law.”
The Postal Service's Domestic Mail Manual states, “No part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items of matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle….” Even though homeowners purchase and maintain the residential mailboxes, the mailboxes belong to and are controlled by the U.S. Postal Service. That means that any tampering or misuse of the mailbox is a federal offense that comes with substantial penalties.
A person can only wonder what is next. If we find out about it, we’ll write about it.