United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Nov 13, 2019
The Select Committee on Standards and Conduct of the Senate shall provide guidance, assistance, advice and counsel, through advisory opinions or consultations, in connection with the mailing or contemplated mailing of franked mail under section 3210, 3211, 3212, 3213(2), 3218, or 3219, and in connection with the operation of section 3215, of title 39, upon the request of any Member of the Senate or Member-elect, surviving spouse of any of the foregoing, or other Senate official, entitled to send mail as franked mail under any of those sections. The select committee shall prescribe regulations governing the proper use of the franking privilege under those sections by such persons.
Any complaint filed by any person with the select committee that a violation of any section of title 39 referred to in subsection (a) of this section is about to occur or has occurred within the immediately preceding period of one year, by any person referred to in such subsection (a), shall contain pertinent factual material and shall conform to regulations prescribed by the select committee. The select committee, if it determines there is reasonable justification for the complaint, shall conduct an investigation of the matter, including an investigation of reports and statements filed by the complainant with respect to the matter which is the subject of the complaint. The committee shall afford to the person who is the subject of the complaint due notice and, if it determines that there is substantial reason to believe that such violation has occurred or is about to occur, opportunity for all parties to participate in a hearing before the select committee. The select committee shall issue a written decision on each complaint under this subsection not later than thirty days after such a complaint has been filed or, if a hearing is held, not later than thirty days after the conclusion of such hearing. Such decision shall be based on written findings of fact in the case by the select committee. If the select committee finds, in its written decision, that a violation has occurred or is about to occur, the committee may take such action and enforcement as it considers appropriate in accordance with applicable rules, precedents, and standing orders of the Senate, and such other standards as may be prescribed by such committee.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no court or administrative body in the United States or in any territory thereof shall have jurisdiction to entertain any civil action of any character concerning or related to a violation of the franking laws or an abuse of the franking privilege by any person listed under subsection (a) of this section as entitled to send mail as franked mail, until a complaint has been filed with the select committee and the committee has rendered a decision under subsection (b) of this section.
The select committee shall prescribe regulations for the holding of investigations and hearings, the conduct of proceedings, and the rendering of decisions under this subsection providing for equitable procedures and the protection of individual, public, and Government interests. The regulations shall, insofar as practicable, contain the substance of the administrative procedure provisions of sections 551 to 559 and 701 to 706, of title 5. These regulations shall govern matters under this subsection subject to judicial review thereof.
The select committee shall keep a complete record of all its actions, including a record of the votes on any question on which a record vote is demanded. All records, data, and files of the select committee shall be the property of the Senate and shall be kept in the offices of the select committee or such other places as the committee may direct.