Breast Cancer Research Stamp: Millions Raised for Research, but Better Cost Recovery Criteria Needed

GGD-00-80 Published: Apr 28, 2000. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2000.
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Highlights

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Postal Service's Breast Cancer Research Stamp, focusing on: (1) how the Service went about identifying and allocating the costs it incurred in developing and marketing the Breast Cancer Research Semipostal (BCRS) and the issues associated with effectiveness; (2) the statutory authorities and constraints associated with the Service's issuance of semipostals, in general, as a means of fund-raising; and (3) the appropriateness of using the BCRS as a means of fund-raising.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
If Congress decides that the Postal Service is not recouping its reasonable costs associated with the BCRS, Congress may wish to consider: (1) amending the Stamp Out Breast Cancer Act to specify any additional costs associated with the BCRS that the Postal Service must recoup; and (2) in any future semipostal legislation, specifying the explicit criteria the Service should use in determining costs to be recouped from the semipostal's surcharge revenue.
Closed – Implemented
In July 2000, legislation was enacted into law authorizing the Postal Service to issue and sell additional semipostals. That legislation did not amend the Stamp Out Breast Cancer Act to specify any additional costs associated with the BCRS that the Postal Service must recoup, or specify explicit criteria the Service should use in determining costs to be recovered from semipostal surcharge revenue. However, the legislation directed the Postal Service to establish regulations specifically addressing how the costs incurred by the Postal Service are to be computed, recovered, and kept to a minimum.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Postal Service The Postmaster General should promptly issue regulations that clearly state the Service's criteria for determining which costs are to be recouped from the BCRS surcharge revenue and ensure that the criteria are consistently applied to all cost items associated with the BCRS.
Closed – Implemented
On July 28, 2000, the U.S. Postal Service issued regulations establishing the Service's criteria for determining which costs are to be recouped from the BCRS surcharge and which costs are covered by the First-Class postage rate. Those regulations remained in effect until June 2001, when the Service, pursuant to a requirement in the Semipostal Authorization Act of 2000, issued regulations governing semipostals issued under that Act. According to postal officials, the Service administratively decided that the regulations issued under the Semipostal Authorization Act would apply to all semipostals issued by the Service--including the BCRS. Furthermore, postal officials indicated that cost recovery criteria, as specified in postal regulations, are consistently applied to all cost items associated with semipostals.
United States Postal Service The Postmaster General should direct postal management to make available the data and analysis showing which BCRS costs have been recovered through the 33-cent First-Class postage rate to provide assurance that postal ratepayers are not involuntarily contributing funds to breast cancer research.
Closed – Implemented
In June, 2004, the Postal Service provided data and analysis to its congressional oversight committees, which included the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, the House Committee on Government Reform, and the House Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight. The material described (1) the Breast Cancer Research Stamp (BCRS) costs recovered through the First-Class Mail postage rate and (2) the BCRS costs specific to the BCRS that were recouped from its surcharge revenue.

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