Views on S. 1407

B-207547: Published: Jul 28, 1982. Publicly Released: May 6, 1985.

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Legislation has been proposed which would strengthen the U.S. Postal Service's investigatory and enforcement powers. The bill would grant the Postal Service authority to issue written inspection demands relating to matters under investigation, issue cease and desist orders regarding fraudulent activities conducted through the mail, and commence civil actions to obtain penalties for certain violations. GAO had several recommendations for clarifying those provisions of the bill dealing with the Postal Service's inspection demands and cease and desist orders. Although the bill directs the Postal Service to promulgate regulations governing inspection demands that are unreasonable, it needs clarification as to whether these provisions are intended to ensure the adoption of standards governing those investigative demands. One section of the bill provides the Postal Service with authority to issue cease and desist orders for certain illegal uses of the mail, and another section covers fraudulent activities not involving the mails that could not have been the subject of a cease and desist order under that section. Congress should consider whether existing Postal Service resources are adequate to assume a monitoring and enforcement role for fraudulent and related activities that do not involve the use of the mails. Provisions should be made for the Postal Service to coordinate the exercise of this expanded authority with other agencies having jurisdiction over the instrumentalities of commerce not involving the mails that might be used in connection with the violation of a Postal Service cease and desist order.

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