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Investigation underway over anti-St. George flyer

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BATON ROUGE- The United States Postal Service has launched an investigation into a flyer that began arriving in mailboxes around Baton Rouge last week.

At issue is the nonprofit postage paid stamp on the back. The flyer was sent from "Baton Rouge Sponsoring Committee/Together Baton Rouge." The circumstances surrounding the flyer are unsettling to postal leaders because they want to protect how mail rates are used.

On Facebook, the group "Residents Against the Breakaway" said it paid for the flyer.

"All of the money for the mailout was raised by Residents Against the Breakaway," The Facebook post from Residents Against the Breakaway reads. "Together Baton Rouge agreed to be the mailer, so we could get non-profit rates."

Residents Against the Breakaway is a separate organization from Together Baton Rouge. Here's where the problem comes in for the Postal Service: nonprofit stamps can't be shared. The messages on Facebook, which have since been deleted, show that might have happened.

The United States Postal Service released a written response to the WBRZ Investigative Unit, part of which reads, "Postal regulations stipulate that an authorized nonprofit organization may not delegate or lend the use of it's authorization to mail at the nonprofit standard mail prices to any other person or organization."

If you would like to read the full statement from the United States Postal Service, click here.

The way the mailer went out also bothers St. George spokesman, Lionel Rainey III. 

"It's not surprising to us," Rainey said.  "We've said since day one the opposition to the St. George Incorporation effort will do everything they possibly can to make sure this doesn't go to a ballot... We're going to continue to follow the law and would hope the opposition would do the same thing."

Together Baton Rouge would not do an on-camera interview, but released a statement instead saying "We designed, contracted for and sent out the mailer directly on our own behalf."

If you would like to read the full statement from Together Baton Rouge, click here.

The USPS says it will take a few days to investigate this matter. There could be a number of consequences that will be determined later, if Together Baton Rouge violated postal guidelines.

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